In an interview with Fox, he said it was in 2017 and that his then Defense Secretary Jim Mattis objected.
US President Donald Trump said Tuesday that he wanted to kill the Syrian leader Bashar al Assad in 2017, but that his then Defense Secretary Jim Mattis objected.
“I would have preferred to eliminate it. I had everything ready“Trump told Fox.” Mattis didn’t want to. Mattis was a very overrated general, and I let him go. “
Trump’s statements support reports published in 2018 in the book “Fear: Trump in the White House”by journalist Bob Woodward of The Washington Post, which the president denied at the time.
“That was not even contemplated,” the president told reporters on September 5, 2018.
Trump hailed Mattis as “a great man” when he appointed him to the head of the Pentagon, but then vilified him and the retired general resigned in late 2018.
Trump reportedly considered assassinating Assad after the Syrian regime launched a chemical attack against the civilian population in April 2017.
According to Woodward’s account, Trump said that US forces should “go in” and “kill” Assad.
Woodward – famous for uncovering the Watergate scandal that led to the resignation of then-President Richard Nixon in the early 1970s – adds in the book that Mattis told the president that “he was going to get on with it,” but later returned with plans for a limited air attack.
Trump told Fox that he did not regret considering killing Assad and that, had he done so, “he could have lived with it.”
“He certainly did not consider him a good person, he had the opportunity to eliminate him if he wanted but Mattis was against it,” said the president.
“Mattis was against All those things“he added.
Syria is experiencing a devastating civil war that has killed hundreds of thousands, and the Assad regime is accused of a series of crimes, including torture, summary executions, rape and the use of chemical weapons.