During a press briefing today, Sean Spicer sent some rather mixed signals to the press.
Despite the fact that we have determined Russia knew about Syria’s chemical attack in advance and that Donald Trump thinks the attack was horrific, Spicer called Russia an ally and refused to say whether or not Bashar al Assad is a war criminal for his actions.
Spicer won’t say Trump thinks Assad is a war criminal, does call him “Bassa-Ashar” pic.twitter.com/PK2WYQNeJB
— Tommy Christopher (@tommyxtopher) April 10, 2017
REPORTER: Does the president consider Assad a war criminal and does he believe Assad should eventually appear before the ICC?
SPICER: I think right now the focus is two-fold. One is defeating ISIS and the second is creating a political environment necessary for the Syrian people to have a new leadership there. I don’t think that there’s — I can’t imagine a stable and peaceful Syria where Bassa al Ashar (sic) is in power. I think we all recognize that that happens and there can be a multi-pronged approach, where you’re ensuring that ISIS is contained and there’s a deescalation of the proliferation of chemical weapons, at the same time creating the environment for a change in leadership.
REPORTER: Does the president believe Assad has committed war crimes?
SPICER: I don’t — I think that there is a court that decides those things, and obviously there’s a reason, that — while I clearly — the actions, when you take an action against the people that he has, and I think we feel unbelievably confident in the intelligence that we have, but again, that would be something for a court to decide.
(h/t Tommy Christopher for the transcript)
Spicer is a man who speaks for the Trump Administration. That’s his job. The administration that tossed about 60 Tomahawk missiles at Syria in response to Assad launching a chemical attack on his own citizens. If the Trump Administration doesn’t think he’s a war criminal, then what the hell was the purpose?