Graham Rips Trump Over Syria Strikes: 'Underwhelming Response' Was a 'Major Step Backwards'

| APR 16, 2018 | 7:59 PM

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) called out President Donald Trump on Monday over his recent military action against Syria, calling the response “underwhelming” and a “major step backwards.”

The senator called the United States' actions following Syria's reported use of chemical weapons a “missed opportunity,” noting that the strike targeting three chemical weapons facilities in Syria was “well short of what I thought was justified.”

“Didn’t lay a glove on Assad’s capabilities to wage war. We’re becoming the chemical weapons police. We don’t have a strategy about why Syria matters,” Graham said in an interview on “The Hugh Hewitt Show.”

“It seems like we’re willing to give to the Russians and the Iranians without much of a contest. The ISIS people heard we’re leaving. The Kurds are in a world of hurt because they’re very much exposed," he continued.

Graham added: "And the military strike itself was a tactical response well short of what I thought was justified. So he’s been a good commander in chief in general, but this is a major step backwards.”

On Friday night, the president announced actions against Syria, in conjunction with France and the U.K., targeting three sites in Damascus and Homs that were used to develop chemical weapons.

“The evil and despicable attack left mothers and fathers, infants and children thrashing in pain and gasping for air. These are not the actions of a man. They are crimes of a monster instead,” Trump said last week announcing the strike.

But according to Grham, the response didn't go far enough. “I think this was an underwhelming response. Assad did not pay a big price.”

"And Russia and Iran hear our Pentagon go out of their way to make sure that we’re not going to get in a conflict with Russia and Iranians in Syria and a president announced that we’re leaving. As the missiles were flying, he announced we were leaving. I think this is a disaster for us in Syria.”

The president, however, has maintained that the strike was “perfectly executed.” And just hours after the military action had ended, Trump took to Twitter to claim “Mission Accomplished.”