‘America First’ isn’t very pretty right now

President Trump is facing his first foreign policy crisis — the chemical bombing of his own people by Syria’s president — and is failing, miserably.

Rather than condemn President Assad’s actions and showing his sympathy and empathy for the victims, and calling for international action at least in the UN, Trump condemned the bombing and then blamed President Obama for creating the environment for Assad to do it.

Obama deserves some blame for the environment — he did draw a red line that Assad crossed with no retribution — but for a sitting President to point a finger at his predecessor in this manner and at this time is not just bad form, it’s a reprehensible response by any president when another country’s leader is killing his own people.

I watched CBS news last night and the anchor warned viewers to move their kids away from the TV because the images they were about to show were difficult but “you need to see them”. He was right — the images — dead bodies of adults and children, and victims who were gasping for breath and foaming at the mouth — were not easy to see. But we had to see them to accept just how horrific this was. This is not a reality show, it is reality.

I hope President Trump saw them because I don’t know how any human being can see them and not be revolted, reduced to tears and be opposed to taking some action against the bastard who did it.

There’s a time and a place for politics, and this isn’t the time or the place for Trump’s pointing a finger at Obama. And Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s first reaction was not not comment though later his department did issue a statement in his name. Friends, this isn’t even a close call. What happened in Syria should be condemned by every normal thinking person in the world. And I chose the word “normal” carefully.

(I’d be remiss in not mentioning that at the time Obama drew the red line in the sand, four years ago, Trump tweeted this: “President Obama, do not attack Syria. There is no upside and tremendous downside. Save your ‘powder’ for another (and more important) day.”

Is this not that day or at least in the running, Mr. President?

It’s one thing for Trump and his pals in the Senate to play politics and be on the precipice of the “nuclear option” to get his Supreme Court nominee through — and likely destroy any future of comity in the normally collegial Senate — but to not condemn Assad without bringing Obama into it, to not put human rights in the forefront of his foreign policy, as presidents of both parties have done for decades…well now everyone is seeing what “America first” really means.

And it ain’t pretty.

Former deputy White House press secretary (Reagan and Bush 41) and former head of communications at Republican Natl Committee. My blog: bjaycooper.com.

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