When Donald Trump announced on Friday evening that the U.S. and is allies were carrying out a limited bombing run in Syria, the timing seemed overwhelmingly suspicious. Trump had spent a week not doing anything in response to Syria. Then, after several damning stories surfaced on Friday about the antics of Trump and his attorney Michael Cohen, suddenly Trump was launching a military operation. Now we have photographic evidence that Trump had not originally been planning the bombing run on Friday night.
It began when White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders tweeted a photo of the White House Situation Room, which she insinuated was taken during the Syria bombing run. But it didn’t take long to figure out that the photo was a fraud. It showed Mike Pence sitting next to Donald Trump, even though Pence was in Peru at the time. It also showed Nikki Haley in the room, even though she was in New York at the time.
The photo was clearly taken during a previous Situation Room meeting. So why was Huckabee Sanders trying to pass it off as having been from Friday night? Then it hit us: the White House didn’t want us to figure out the unplanned nature of the Syria bombing run. If Trump had spent the week planning to bomb Syria on Friday night, there is no way that Pence would have taken off for Peru, and Haley would have taken off for New York. It looks flippant and weak when key members of the administration are off gallivanting while the U.S. is initiating military action. Even the Trump administration understands that.
So now we know that Donald Trump was not originally planning to launch the bombing run against Syria on Friday night. Maybe he was going to do it anyway, but his top people would have made sure to be in town on the date he told them he was going to do it. The fact that he did it on Friday night, while his VP and UN Ambassador were both gone for the weekend, tells us that he really did time the bombing to distract from the Michael Cohen scandal.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report