Republican Sen. Marco Rubio told a Tampa Bay radio station on Wednesday that he believes the Syrian chemical attack, which occurred mere days after Secretary of State Rex Tillerson suggested Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad could remain in power, comes as no coincidence. During a Wednesday morning appearance on Tampa’s 970WFLA News Radio, Rubio made it clear that he believes the remarks made by Tillerson may have empowered Assad, leading to the heinous acts that left up to 100 Syrians dead:
“In this case now, we have very limited options and look, it’s concerning that the secretary of state, 72 hours ago or a week ago, last Friday, said that the future’s up to the people in Syria on what happens with Assad. In essence almost nodding to the idea that Assad was gonna get to stay in some capacity … I don’t think it’s a coincidence that a few days later we see this.”
Rubio went on to say even though the world is stunned by the images coming out of Syria, he believes Assad will never face any punishment for his war crimes:
“Assad believes and sadly he may be right that he can gas his people with sarin, kill children, kill innocent civilians, people will complain, there’ll be a meeting at the UN Security Council and then life will go on and he’ll stay in power. He’s made that calculation. The Russians support him on it. China is indifferent. And I hate to say this, I think he’s gonna get away with it again.”
Rubio’s remarks stem from comments Tillerson made last week in Turkey. There, Tillerson stated that the Trump administration wasn’t planning on getting involved in the ongoing Syrian troubles. Rather, he said that the country would have to figure the issue out for themselves:
“I think the status and the longer-term status of President Assad will be decided by the Syrian people. The Syrian army has published a statement in which they deny use of chemical weapons.”
Earlier in the day, Sen. Rubio posted a pair tweet of tweets in regard to the attacks. One of them calls China and Russia’s reaction to this most recent war crime a “moment of truth” for the two countries.
Following the attacks, Israel pinned the blame squarely on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his regime. Israeli sources are reporting that they believe the chemical attack was intended to convey a threatening message to rebel groups against the backdrop of growing confidence in the regime’s stability. The country believes that Syrian and Russian claims about the event sourcing from a chemical warehouse explosion are baseless, and have no evidence in fact.
As far as the White House reaction to the events in Syria goes, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley slammed Russia for not holding the Assad regime accountable. Speaking during a Security Council emergency meeting in the aftermath of the attack, Haley had some stern words for the Russian regime. She stated, “We cannot close our eyes to these pictures, we cannot close our minds to the responsibility to act … How many more children have to die before Russia cares?”
You can watch her speech to the U.N. below. Be forewarned that this contains graphic imagery.