Trump has long made a point of condemning wars of regime change. But the neocons act quickly.
Following the deadly chemical attack in the Syrian city of Idlib early Tuesday, Trump quickly came out to express his sorrow:
“Today’s chemical attack in Syria against innocent people, including women and children, is reprehensible and cannot be ignored by the civilized world.”
In the days following, the war hawks of the left and right have not hesitated to place blame for the attack squarely on President Assad, calling for U.S. intervention. Many Republicans and some Democrats have demanded action against the Syrian president.
Unsurprisingly, Hillary Clinton called on the United States to take out the Syrian leader’s Air Force on Thursday:
“And I really believe that we should have and still should take out his air fields and prevent him from being able to use them to bomb innocent people and drop sarin gas on them.”
The latest from Trump himself has been a statement that ‘something should happen’ in response to the attack.
“I think what happened in Syria is a disgrace to humanity and he’s there, and I guess he’s running things, so something should happen,” Trump said Thursday afternoon on Air Force One.
This attack has apparently crossed a line for Trump, causing him to speak counter to his long time stance that the U.S. should not try and take out Assad, admitting that his “attitude toward Syria and Assad has changed very much.”
But just last year, Trump asked: “Let’s say you get rid of Assad, you knock out that government — who’s gonna take over?”
Trump’s change of heart has many of his supporters worried, as they call on him to resist the pull of the neocons. If Trump escalates the U.S. position in Syria, it could be the first action to truly anger a large swath of his base.
Sen. Rand Paul, who has been a Trump ally, issued a pointed reminder to Trump via Twitter, retweeting Trump’s 2013 tweet where he demanded that Obama avoid bombing Syria.
Paul has also demanded that Trump obtain Congressional approval before taking any action, maintaining that “Short of Congress voting on it, I’m opposed to illegal and unconstitutional wars.”
Ron Paul has also questioned Assad’s guilt in the attack, theorizing that it could be a ploy to engage the U.S. in war.
Wikileaks has also pointed out the anger of the alt-right and veterans regarding Trump’s indication that he may retaliate against Assad.
For further evidence of how angered Trump supporters have become by his recent statements, one needn’t look further than The_Donald subreddit, which is filled with calls for Trump to avoid action in Syria.
Will Trump cave to the immense pull of the neocons? Or, will he stay true to the promises which helped elect him? At this rate, it appears the answer will quickly be revealed.