During Monday's press briefing, Sean Spicer had a challenging time trying to articulate how Trump's missile attack on Syria fit into any coherent foreign policy strategy or doctrine.
Trump campaigned on "America's First" and that he would never engage in a useless confrontation with a country that wasn't beneficial, economically speaking, to our interests.
For most of the presser, the press was very domicile when confronting Trump's wavering policies on Russia, Assad and the missile strike.
In 2013 and 2015, Trump repeatedly criticized and demanded that Obama not attack Syria and instead should get congressional authorization.
Apparently the press has decided that Donald is not going to be challenged on his hypocrisy as long as he launches beautifully crafted Tomahawks.
When CNN's Jeff Zeleny asked why it was that now it's OK for Trump to attack Syria without said authorization, Spicer responded by basically using an argument President Obama would have made, using Article 2 of the Constitution. Uncharacteristically, there was no follow up questions on Trump's insincerity on foreign since he's become president.
Much of Spicer's presser was a ball of confusion when he tried to actually explain their Syrian dilemma.
At one point he answered MSNBC's Kristen Welker's question about clarifying their position on Assad this way:
“The goal for the United States is twofold,” Spicer explained. “It’s, one, to make sure we destabilize Syria — destabilize the conflict there, reduce the threat of ISIS."
"But then, secondly, is create the political environment, not just within the Syrian people, but I think you can have — work with Russia in particular to make sure that they understand that Syria, backed up by Russia’s own accounting, should be held accountable for the agreements that its made with respect to its international agreements on chemical weapons alone,” he said.
This past weekend Nikki Haley and Rex Tillerson gave differing opinions on if Assad should remain in power and Spicer was asked which one better reflected Trump's views.
Spicer replied by saying the two differing takes weren't mutually exclusive, "...one of them is saying, we don’t see peace with him in charge. The other one is saying, we need to have him gone. I think that’s the point of both. The goal for both of them -- the goal for the United States is twofold, as I’ve stated. It’s, one, to make sure that we destabilize Syria -- destabilize the conflict there, reduce the threat of ISIS.
And when asked to clarify, he gave one of his typical word salad soliloquies and then said the opposite
Spicer said, "So, just to be clear, I can’t -- I don’t think it’s -- you can’t imagine a stable and peaceful Syria with Assad in charge. I just -- I don’t think that’s a scenario that’s possible. But I think that the first step in that has to be to make sure that the region -- and Syria, in particular -- are stable. You can’t have ISIS marching through Syria and then worry mostly about who’s in charge right now."
How Trump thinks he's going to ask for Assad and Russia's help in squashing ISIS, and at the same time destabilize Assad's regime to oust him at the same time -- while the Russians passively look on is beyond anyone's guess.
But then again, Trump is the decider!