Trump’s airstrike in Syria, as messy as it was, is confusing because of Trump himself. The show of force against Assad for dropping chemical weapons on children doesn’t seem like it should be confusing, but it’s not Assad that makes Trump’s actions puzzling, it’s Russia.
Trump has praised Russia for years and talked about how much he admires Putin. In fact, he’s never actually said anything bad about Russia or Putin. But Russia supports Assad, and an attack on Assad they see as an attack on them. In fact, Russia is already planning on retaliating.
Trump is also in a lot of trouble with Russia, with key members of his campaign possibly facing jail time, and investigations continuing. It also doesn’t help him that David Nunes stepped away from the House Intelligence Committee.
Are Trump’s praise of Russia, his attacks against Assad, and the investigations of Trump’s Russian ties connected? MSNBC’s Chris Matthews thinks so:
“If there was a way for him to kill the narrative that he’s in bed with Putin, it would be this. Take on Putin’s warm freshwater port [in Tartus], take on his satellite, his loyal ally Assad. And that would be a way of saying I was never in bed with this guy, I never planned any kind of coalition in Moscow.”
It might seem like a jump, but with Trump treating the Presidency like reality TV, it’s plausible.