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AFP
September 16, 2020

Trump says he wanted to kill Assad, but Mattis opposed

Top Story

AFP
September 16, 2020

WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump said Tuesday he wanted to assassinate Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad in 2017, but that his then-secretary of defence Jim Mattis opposed the operation.

"I would have rather taken him out. I had him all set," Trump told the morning show Fox & Friends. "Mattis didn’t want to do it. Mattis was a highly overrated general, and I let him go." The revelations support reporting that came out in 2018 when Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward published his book "Fear: Trump in the White House" and which the president denied at the time. "That was never even contemplated," Trump told reporters in the Oval Office on September 5, 2018.

Trump’s Tuesday remarks came as part of a castigation against Mattis, whom the president hailed as a "great man" when he hired him to run the Pentagon, but soured on the retired general who eventually resigned in late 2018. Trump was reportedly mulling assassinating Assad after the Syrian president launched a chemical attack on civilians in April 2017.