President Donald Trump and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg issued a joint press conference that covered NATO and Russia among other topics. In the conference, President Trump spoke about the recent chemical attack on Syria by Bashar al-Assad’s regime by explaining that the United States “must also work together to resolve the disaster currently taking place in Syria.”
We are grateful for the support of NATO members and partners in their condemnation of Assad’s murderous attack, using the most horrible weapons. The vicious slaughter of innocent civilians with chemical weapons, including the barbaric killing of small and helpless children and babies, must be forcefully rejected by any nation that values human life. It is time to end this brutal civil war, defeat terrorists, and allow refugees to return home.”
The response to the attack by the Trump administration drew criticism for taking on an interventionist approach when President Trump vowed during his campaign that his administration would focus on “America First” and not continue being the world’s police. In an effort to clear up any confusion about what the administration’s stance was on deeper intervention, President Trump sat down with Fox Business News and ruled out the motion.
During the press conference, Trump was also asked about his views towards Vladimir Putin and what he believed the United States should do if Putin continued to support Assad’s regime. In response, he stated that “It would be wonderful, as we were discussing just a little while ago, if NATO and our country could get along with Russia. Right now, we’re not getting along with Russia at all. We may be at an all-time low in terms of a relationship with Russia. This has built for a long period of time. But we’re going to see what happens. Putin is the leader of Russia. Russia is a strong country. We’re a very, very strong country. We’re going to see how that all works out.”
The comments come at a time when the relationship between the United States and Russia are dominating the news and add to the complexity of it after the United States’ response to the chemical attack in Syria.