Trump says he favored plan to eliminate Syrian dictator Assad, but Mattis opposed it

by Laura Mize · Sep 15th, 2020 3:01 pm

Last Updated Sep 17th, 2020 at 8:19 pm

The United States was creating a plan to assassinate Syrian dictator Bashar Assad in 2017, President Trump revealed in a media interview Tuesday.

Trump noted that while he favored an operation to eliminate Assad, then-Secretary of Defense James Mattis did not believe the U.S. should take out the dictator. The president discussed the matter in an on-air phone call with the show "Fox & Friends."

"I would've rather taken him out," said the commander in chief. "I had him all set. Mattis didn't want to do it. Mattis was a highly overrated general."

Trump's comments about Assad were part of a lengthy criticism of Mattis. They contradict Trump's previous denial that any such plan existed.

In 2018, the president said such a move "was never even contemplated, nor would it be contemplated."

The president's also panned Mattis's performance as a military leader.

"To me, he was a terrible general," Trump said. "He was a bad leader, and he wasn't doing the job with ISIS. He was not doing the job in Syria or Iraq with respect to ISIS."

? Syria has been embroiled in a civil war since 2011. Assad has brutalized and killed Syrian civilians, including using chemical weapons against them. An April 2020 report from Agence France-Presse said 380,000 people have died in the war, including at least 115,000 civilians.


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