President Donald Trump blamed political pundits and former President Barack Obama for the “nightmare of misery” in the Middle East during remarks on the Turkish ceasefire agreement Wednesday afternoon.
Trump tweeted early Wednesday morning that the “ceasefire has held” and announced he would give remarks later on.
During his remarks, Trump announced that Turkey had agreed to a permanent ceasefire and touted the creation of a “safe zone” saying:
“This was an outcome created by us, the United States, no other nation. Very simple, and we’re willing to take blame and we’re also willing to take credit. This is something they’ve been trying to do for many, many decades.”
Watch his comments below:
The president didn’t miss an opportunity to attack pundits who argued for the U.S. intervention to block Turkey from carrying out its offensive in Syria:
“The same people that I watched and read giving me and the United States advice were the people that I had been watching and reading for many years. They are the ones that got us into the Middle East mess. But never had the vision or the courage to get us out. They just talk.”
Trump added that the United States avoided another “costly military intervention that could have led to disastrous, far-reaching consequences.” He then blamed Obama for the current situation in Syria by not acting to remove Syrian President Bashar al-Assad:
“Eight long years after President Obama’s ill-fated push at regime change, U.S. troops are still on the ground in Syria. More than half a million are dead, hundreds of thousands are injured, and millions more Syrians are displaced. It really is a nightmare of misery.”
The Obama Administration had two main objectives in the country which included building an international coalition to combat and defeat ISIS and ensuring that Assad’s stockpile of chemical weapons was destroyed.
In 2011, following months of violent protests and Obama called for the removal of Assad from power saying, “The future of Syria must be determined by its people, but President Bashar al-Assad is standing in their way. For the sake of the Syrian people, the time has come for President Assad to step aside.” However, aside from arming Syrian rebels, the U.S. did not take steps to combat Assad.
Obama considered ordering airstrikes in 2013, after Assad used chemical weapons on his own citizens, but was unable to secure authorization for the use of force from Congress. Instead, Obama worked with the international community to broker an agreement with Assad to work with Russia to turn over and destroy its chemical weapons.
In 2014 and ensuing years the United States focused on partnering with Syrian forces to combat ISIS and retake territory that was lost to the terrorist organization