Washington Post columnist David Ignatius said Monday that during his travels in Syria, rebel fighters there cheered any mention of President Donald Trump’s name.
Appearing on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Ignatius prefaced his comments by warning that he would say something “sympathetic to Trump.” It was only the second airing of the show since Trump touched off a firestorm with his tweets mocking Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski.
“As I traveled across Syria meeting with Syrian fighters who were trying to take down the regime of Bashar al-Assad, every time the name President Trump was mentioned, there were cheers from the audience,” he said in a clip flagged by Legal Insurrection.
One Syrian Kurdish commander, Ignatius said, colorfully remarked Trump had the equivalent of what would be called “cajones” in Spanish. Ignatius said Trump’s looser approach allowed commanders on the ground to more expeditiously carry out operations.
“More seriously, the big attacks that have taken place around Raqqa, one in particular, a surprise landing by helicopter, I was told, by the top U.S. commanders, would not have taken place if it hadn’t been for President Trump’s decision to delegate military authorities down to the level of command,” Ignatius said. “Under Obama, that would have taken a couple weeks of White House meetings, and they still wouldn’t have made up their mind.”
In March, the U.S. airlifted hundreds of fighters in an attack to help cut off Raqqa, the Islamic State’s proclaimed capital. The New York Times reported this was a result of Trump’s delegating approach.
Trump ordered a retaliatory strike against Syria in April after Assad’s regime killed more than 80 people in a chemical attack. Last week, the White House publicly threatened him with a “heavy price” if he carried out another attack.
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said Trump’s warning to the Syrian regime to not deploy a chemical weapons attack saved “many innocent men, women and children.”