On Wednesday, Rand Paul sent a message to Donald Trump via Twitter that the president once strongly opposed Barack Obama militarily intervening in Syria’s ongoing civil war.
In August of 2013, the international community believed Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad was responsible for a chemical weapons attack on civilians, including women and children, that killed hundreds. When it was reported that President Obama was considering military strikes on Syria, Trump tweeted:
Given the current similar turmoil in Syria, on Wednesday Sen. Paul retweeted Trump’s 2013 advice to President Obama and added his own thoughts:
Paul has long questioned whether regime change in Syria is wise U.S. policy, while also noting that Assad is a terrible despot.
“If I were to see Assad walking down the street, I wouldn’t feed him,” Paul said on CNN in 2015. “He is an evil man who has gassed his people and is at least partly if not mostly responsible for this.”
“Russia’s influence in this area has become greater since Saddam Hussein was toppled, so the Iraq War has led to a chaotic situation,” Paul added two years ago. The senator also said of the Syrian rebels that the U.S. has supported, who have also been guilty of similar human rights violations and other atrocities, “It’s hard to determine who is moderate and who is not moderate. It’s a very messy situation to people on both sides of that civil war who aren’t necessarily our friends.”
“I think really the first thing to understand is that there may be no good guys in this,” Paul observed. Paul has been outspoken in opposing America backing Syria’s rebel forces, and Donald Trump has agreed in the past that U.S. support of them should end.
Sen. Paul has also long said, agreeing with Trump in 2013, that any war must be declared by Congress, most recently penning a joint letter to the president with Sen. Mike Lee reiterating this constitutional obligation.
In the wake of a recent heinous chemical attack on civilians, including children, President Trump said on Wednesday, “My attitude toward Syria and Assad has changed very much.” Trump also threatened a military response, as did his United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley.
This latest attack is similar to what the Obama administration faced in 2013 when Trump urged the president to keep the U.S. out of the Syrian conflict.
Disclosure: I co-authored the 2011 book The Tea Party Goes to Washington with Sen. Rand Paul.