Sep 4, 2018

White House draws red line against use of chemical weapons in Syria

Syrian youths walk past a billboard showing a picture of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Photo: Louai Beshara/AFP/Getty Images

The Trump administration released a statement Tuesday warning that, if Syrian President Bashar al-Assad chooses again to use chemical weapons, the United States will respond "swiftly and appropriately."

The big picture: Assad's forces, backed by Russia and Iran, are preparing to launch an offensive in the rebel-held province of Idlib, which could result in a massive humanitarian crisis for the almost three million Syrians who live there. According to Bob Woodward's new book, Trump reportedly told Defense Secretary James Mattis he wanted to assassinate Assad last April after the Syrian dictator used chemical weapons on innocent civilians.

"The United States is closely monitoring the situation in Idlib province, Syria, where millions of innocent civilians are under threat of an imminent Assad regime attack, backed by Russia and Iran.  President Donald J. Trump has warned that such an attack would be a reckless escalation of an already tragic conflict and would risk the lives of hundreds of thousands of people.  Let us be clear, it remains our firm stance that if President Bashar al-Assad chooses to again use chemical weapons, the United States and its Allies will respond swiftly and appropriately.  The United States will continue to work tirelessly with its Allies to find a lasting diplomatic solution to resolve the hostilities in Syria under the auspices of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2254."
— White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders

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Twitter: Trump's Minnesota tweet on violated rules

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Twitter said Friday morning that a tweet from President Trump in which he threatened shooting in response to civil unrest in Minneapolis violated the company's rules. The company said it was leaving the tweet up in the public interest.

Why it matters: The move exacerbates tensions between Twitter and the president over the company's authority to label or limit his speech as well as the president's authority to dictate rules for a private company.

Trump threatens to "assume control" of Minneapolis over unrest

Flames from a nearby fire illuminate protesters standing on a barricade in front of the Third Police Precinct in Minneapolis on Thursday. Photo: Kerem Yucel/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump threatened via Twitter early Friday to send the national guard to Minneapolis following three days of massive demonstrations and unrest in the city over George Floyd, a black man who died in police custody this week.

Details: "I can’t stand back & watch this happen to a great American City, Minneapolis. A total lack of leadership. Either the very weak Radical Left Mayor, Jacob Frey, get his act together and bring the City under control, or I will send in the National Guard & get the job done right," Trump tweeted after a police station was torched by some protesters.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

In photos: Protests over George Floyd's death grip Minneapolis

Protesters cheer as the Third Police Precinct burns behind them on in Minneapolis on Thursday night. Photo: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Cheering protesters set a Minneapolis police station on fire Thursday night in the third night of unrest following the death of George Floyd, a black man who died in police custody in the city, per AP.

The state of play: Minnesota's governor on Thursday activated the state's national guard following violent outbreaks throughout the week, as the nation waits to see if the officers involved will be charged with murder.