Former Obama Spokesman: ‘Trump Was Handed a Mess’ in Syria

From left: Jon Lovett, Tommy Vietor, Jon Favreau / Twitter
• April 8, 2018 11:06 pm


Former Obama National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor said President Donald Trump "was handed a mess" in Syria while criticizing conservatives Sunday for pointing out an old tweet of his celebrating progress toward removing Bashar al-Assad's chemical weapons stockpile.

A reported chemical weapons attack by the Assad regime against a rebel-held suburb of Damascus occurred Saturday, leaving dozens dead.

The massacre led to renewed criticism of Obama administration officials like former Secretary of State John Kerry, who said in 2014 the U.S. made a deal a year earlier that got "100 percent" of Assad's chemical weapons out of Syria.

Vietor tweeted in 2013 a link to a New York Times story about the progress being made toward eliminating Syria's chemical weapons use, calling it "remarkable." Now a co-host of the liberal podcast "Pod Save America," he became annoyed Sunday at "Republicans and a very dumb columnist" for "resurfacing this tweet like it's a gotcha."

"Shipping out 1300 metric tons of weapons-grade chemicals was a major development. Obviously they didn’t get it all. Chlorine wasn’t covered. Trump was handed a mess but also hasn’t deterred Assad," he wrote.

Trump warned of a "big price to pay" for the latest attack in a tweet Sunday, calling Assad an "animal" and specifically calling out Russian President Vladimir Putin for backing him. White House Homeland Security Advisor Tom Bossert said nothing was off the table with regard to a possible military response.

A year ago, Trump ordered a retaliatory missile strike on a Syrian air base for a chemical attack by Assad.

Sen. John McCain (R., Ariz.) ripped Trump after the attack, saying the president's statement last week about wanting to withdraw the U.S. presence from Syria emboldened Assad to carry out his latest atrocity.