While speaking with AM Tampa Bay this morning, Florida Senator Marco Rubio gave a not-so-subtle nod to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s comments about Syria’s Bashar al-Assad.
In fact, the senator came right out and suggested that Assad was likely emboldened by Tillerson’s lukewarm comments on the atrocities of Assad against his own people.
After dozens died in Syria – many of them children – in a Tuesday attack, many U.S. lawmakers were outraged.
Tillerson has been noncommittal, at best, saying of Assad last week, while in Turkey: “I think the status and the longer-term status of President Assad will be decided by the Syrian people.”
Rubio’s response in his radio interview:
“In this case now, we have very limited options and look, it’s concerning that the secretary of state, 72 hours ago or a week ago, last Friday, said that the future’s up to the people in Syria on what happens with Assad. In essence almost nodding to the idea that Assad was gonna get to stay in some capacity,” Rubio said on the show “AM Tampa Bay.”
“I don’t think it’s a coincidence that a few days later we see this,” Rubio concluded.
The attack, which took place in the northern Idlib province was likely aimed at Syrian opposition forces, thought to be housed in the region.
Other lawmakers, such as fellow Republican Sen. John McCain, have also rebuked Tillerson and the Trump administration. McCain said on CNN’s “New Day” that he was sure that the Assad regime was “encouraged to know that the United States is withdrawing” from the conflict.
I pointed out the response of Rep. Adam Kinzinger, earlier.
Rubio went on to say:
“Assad believes and sadly he may be right that he can gas his people with sarin, kill children, kill innocent civilians, people will complain, there’ll be a meeting at the UN Security Council and then life will go on and he’ll stay in power,” he said. “He’s made that calculation. The Russians support him on it. China is indifferent. And I hate to say this, I think he’s gonna get away with it again.”
And therein lies the problem.
Assad is supported by Russia, which complicates any response from the U.S.
You can listen to Senator Rubio’s remarks here: