Late Thursday, President Trump ordered the U.S. military to fire 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at the Shayrat air base outside Homs, Syria. The offensive came in response to an horrific chemical weapons attack in the Syrian province of Idlib. The planes carrying sarin had reportedly taken off from Shayrat.
“On Tuesday, Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad launched a horrible chemical weapons attack on innocent civilians. Using a deadly nerve agent, Assad choked out the lives of helpless men, women and children. It was a slow and brutal death for so many. Even beautiful babies were cruelly murdered in this very barbaric attack,” Trump announced Thursday evening.
It was apparently nothing more than a show of strength, given that the Trump administration reportedly warned both Russia and Syria prior to the strike, and Syrian planes were said to be taking off from Shayrat less than 24 hours after the bombing, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. If that weren’t enough, Trump oversaw the attack from his vacation home at Mar-a-Lago while hosting Chinese president Xi Jinping—perhaps sending a message to China about how to handle North Korea.
On Friday night, Bill Maher addressed the bombing on his HBO program Real Time with Bill Maher. And he was skeptical, to say the least—pointing out how, in the wake of the Assad regime’s 2013 chemical weapons attack on Ghouta, Syria, which claimed approximately 1,429 lives, a Republican-controlled Congress didn’t even put President Obama’s request to authorize military force against Assad to a vote. President Trump, on the other hand, bypassed Congress.
“American cruise missiles blew up an airfield last night in Syria because the dictator there was using chemical weapons—which he has done many times,” said Maher. “In 2013, 98 Republicans signed a letter saying bombing Syria in response to a chemical attack was unconstitutional without congressional authorization. But this is different, because Obama was president then. That would have involved bombing while black.”
Complicating matters, of course, is the fact that Putin’s Russia, which Trump can’t seem to say a bad word about, is firmly backing the Assad regime. “This is very tricky for Donald Trump, because the Syrian regime is propped up by Russia, and Russia does not want us bombing there,” said Maher. “If Trump does the wrong thing, Putin might not re-elect him. But the temptation to use his new toys was too much.”
Maher then criticized cable news’ reaction to the strike, that saw even lefty newsmen like MSNBC’s Brian Williams and CNN’s Fareed Zakaria salivate over it. Williams, in true cringeworthy fashion, called images of the airstrikes “beautiful,” while Zakaria recycled a line from his colleague Van Jones in declaring that Trump “became president of the United States” that night. “In America, you’re not really president until you bomb something, you know?” said Maher. “Even the liberals were all over this last night. Everybody loves this fuckin’ thing. Cable news loves it when they show footage of destroyers firing cruise missiles at night. It’s America’s money shot.”