The White House announced on Tuesday morning that President Trump would not travel to the Summit of the Americas in Peru as scheduled this week, but would stick around Washington to “oversee” the American response to a suspected chemical-weapons attack committed by the Assad regime in Syria over the weekend. Vice-President Pence will attend the gathering in Trump’s place, and travel to Colombia, as Trump had planned.
Trump had said on Monday evening that the U.S. would respond “forcefully” to the Syria attack.
The president is, to put it generously, a big-picture guy, so it’s tough to say what his style of military-strike management looks like — though he has surrounded himself with an increasingly hawkish group of advisers. The White House has never had a coherent Syria strategy, and all the options on the table now — perfunctory air strikes, a more robust intervention — are likely to be destructive, ineffectual, or both. Just last week, Trump said he wanted to pull all U.S. troops out of the country.
The president has a lot on his plate besides deciding whether to become further embroiled in the Middle East. With his personal lawyer under FBI investigation and former FBI director James Comey’s book about to drop, he is reportedly angrier than ever, which is really saying something. His aides who were hoping that a change of scenery might calm him down are out of luck.