President Trump on Wednesday called a chemical weapons attack in Syria “horrible” and raised the possibility of a U.S. response.
“These are very troubled times in the Middle East. And we see what happened just recently, yesterday in Syria. Horrible. Horrible thing. Unspeakable,” Trump said.
He also called the attack “a terrible affront to humanity.” Asked by a reporter if there would be a U.S. policy to deal with it, he responded, “You’ll see.”
Trump’s comment came just after he welcomed Jordanian King Abdullah II to the White House.
Syria is expected to be a topic of discussion during Abdullah’s visit. The country has ben embroiled in a civil war since 2011 between Syrian President Bashar Assad and anti-regime rebels.
The conflict began peacefully but quickly became violent. More than 250,000 Syrians have been killed, nearly five million Syrians have fled the country, and more than six million are internally displaced, according to the United Nations.
The attack, which occurred on Tuesday in Khan Sheikhoun, left 52 adults and 20 children dead, according to a British-based group Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
On Tuesday, Sean Spicer, White House press secretary, pinned the attack directly on the Assad regime.
“Today’s chemical attack in Syria against innocent people, including women and children, is reprehensible and cannot be ignored by the civilized world,” he said.
Spicer also said the attack was a consequence of the Obama administration’s “weakness and irresolution.” President Obama famously drew a “red line” on chemical weapons usage by the Assad regime, which it crossed after launching a chemical weapons attack in Ghouta, killing hundreds.
Instead of opting for military action, the administration sought a deal with Russia to dismantle Syria’s chemical weapons program. However, human rights groups have documented attacks in the country since the program was allegedly dismantled.
“These heinous actions by the Bashar al-Assad regime are a consequence of the past administration’s weakness and irresolution. President Obama said in 2012 that he would establish a ‘red line’ against the use of chemical weapons and then did nothing. The United States stands with our allies across the globe to condemn this intolerable act,” Spicer said.