President Donald Trump was having dinner with Chinese President Xi Jinping last Thursday when he was informed that the airstrikes he had authorized in Syria were ready to be deployed.
The world leaders were having their last course at Trump’s private Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida, which Trump said was “the most beautiful piece of chocolate cake that you’ve ever seen.” The Chinese president was really “enjoying it,” Trump told Fox News.
— Igor Bobic (@igorbobic) April 12, 2017
That’s when Trump said he decided to lean over and tell President Xi that the United States had “just fired 59 missiles” and that they were heading to Syria.
“And he was eating his cake. And he was silent,” Trump recalled.Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images
“We were almost finished,” Trump said. “It was a full day in Palm Beach.”
After about 10 seconds of silence, Trump said Xi responded using his interpreter, saying that “anybody that was so brutal and uses gases to do that to young children and babies, it’s OK” to strike them.
The U.S. airstrike targeting the Syrian airfield was ordered days after a chemical weapons attack left roughly 100 people dead in the war-torn country. Trump said he immediately asked Defense Secretary James Mattis to lay out America’s options after the attack.
Later in the interview, Trump said the U.S. hit Syria “very hard” but that he doesn’t plan to go to war with Syria. However, he suggested he could change his mind if the Assad regime uses chemical weapons against innocent civilians again.