"Assad has an air force, and that air force is the cause of most of these civilian deaths as we have seen over the years and as we saw again in the last few days...And I really believe that we should have and still should take out his airfields and prevent him from being able to use them to bomb innocent people and drop sarin gas on them.”
Donald Trump? No, Hillary Clinton speaking yesterday before Trump ordered the Tomahawk missile air strikes against Assad forces in Syria.
Give Donald Trump credit. He did exactly the right thing, sent exactly the right message at a critical moment in his presidency, his first foreign policy crisis.
Assad’s horrific attack using sarin gas on men, women and children in an utterly cynical and brutal assault deserved an answer and Trump gave him one.
Under Obama such a response would likely not have been contemplated or been long-fingered. He was extra cautious about engaging American forces anywhere in the world.
Even when Russian planes targeted children’s hospitals and hundreds were killed, Obama did nothing, suffering paralysis by analysis. It was the wrong response.
There are times when humanity, in the face of inhumanity, screams for a response. Trump got that and delivered.
Assad was obviously testing the new man in the White House, secure in the knowledge – or so he thought – that there would be no response.
He was wrong. Trump answered almost immediately, a bellicose reaction yes, but one well signalled over the past few days since the attack.
There are foreign policy experts who will point to much worse atrocities that went unanswered in recent times, but Trump is smarter on this issue than they give him credit for.
Quick, unilateral action sent a clear message that mass murder of women, men and babies would not be countenanced on his watch.
It was an invaluable contribution and, while others will remind us of the endless complexities of the Syrian war, there is one clear message that has gone out – that mass murder of civilians with nerve gas will not be let go without a response.
So good for Donald Trump. Showing American steel and resolve at the beginning of his presidency and responding as he did sends a clear and unambiguous message. America is still the force to be reckoned with, Vladimir Putin's ambitions notwithstanding.