McConnell "totally supports" airstrike in Syria

04/12/2017 08:01 PM

LOUISVILLE — U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is lauding an airstrike against Syria by President Trump as a message to U.S. adversaries.

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday at the Gene Snyder Federal Courthouse in Louisville, McConnell cast the strike as a reset for the United States on foreign policy.

“It served a multitude of purposes. Number one, it sends a message to Assad to beware of using chemical weapons again,” McConnell said. “Important message to the Russians, who I thought said they got all the chemical weapons out of Syria. But, obviously they were not telling the truth about that. Important message to the Iranians, to the North Koreans, all of our adversaries that this administration is going to play a greater roll in the world.”

The US fired 59 Tomahawk missiles at Shyrat airfield in Syria, which the military says is where the chemical attack was launched from. Originally, it was widely reported that the military claimed the missile strike severely degraded or destroyed their original target, including 20 planes which they said were taken out in the strike.

On Friday, CNN reported that Russia’s defense ministry claimed just 23 missiles made it to the airbase, knocking out six aircraft. Two Syrian jets took off from the base on Friday, according to ABC News. Given the reports, McConnell was asked about the effectiveness of the strike.

Some have indicated the military actions against Bashar al-Assad in Syria could also be the start of a proxy war between the United States and Russia. While McConnell didn’t weigh in on the specter of such an engagement, in response to a question from Spectrum News he did say the timing of the strike “is really interesting.”

The missiles were launched just before Secretary of State Rex Tillerson went to Moscow, and as Trump dined with the Chinese President Xi Jinping.

McConnell was also asked about the refugee crisis in Syria, and if the Trump administration should allow refugees to enter the United States.

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