Trump gets mixed reaction to military strikes at home and abroad

David Harding

No sooner had the US had fired 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at a Syrian government air base, the reaction started.

Globally, President Donald Trump’s decision received the predictable backing of countries such as Britain, Israel and Saudi Arabia, but was heavily criticised by Russia and the government of Syria headed by Bashar al-Assad.

The mixed reaction abroad was matched at home for Trump.

The New York Times  reported that “US Strikes Syria Over Chemical Attack”, but also warned that the decision by Trump carried “Risks and Opportunities”.

Inside, it published an opinion piece saying the president should be “commended” for the military action following the chemical attack by Bashar al-Assad regime.

Antony Blinken, a former deputy secretary of state under Barack Obama, wrote that when a tyrant makes uses chemical weapons,  “the world looks to America to act.”

Fox News, predictably backed Trump.

It published an opinion piece praising Mr Trump’s decision to launch air strikes, saying the president “appears to be reasserting American moral leadership, as President Reagan once did”.

Robert Charles, a former assistant secretary of state for President George W Bush, wrote: “Here was a new ‘shot heard round the world’ – or rather 60 of them.”

The Washington Post stated: “US strikes Syrian military airfield”, while the LA Times went simply with: “US strikes Syria”.

The New York Daily News, no friend of Trump’s, reported that US unleashes deadly salvo on Syrian forces in response to Assad’s chemical attack”.

Meanwhile, The Wall Street Journal said the decision to order military strikes in Syria sets Mr Trump’s presidency on a “new and unpredictable course that is likely to shape his time in office”.

But there was mixed reaction from those in Washington.

Senate minority Chuck Schumer leader backed the president: “Making sure Assad knows that when he commits such despicable atrocities he will pay a price is the right thing to do.”

But fellow Democrat, Barbara Lee was scathing. She said: “This is an act of war. Congress needs to come back into session & hold a debate. Anything less is an abdication of our responsibility.”