The White House narrative on its airstrikes against the Syrian regime is cloudy. So much so that Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) is sounding like a conspiracy theorist on MSNBC.
Speaking to All In‘s Chris Hayes, Menendez talked about various things surrounding the Trump presidency, including his opinion that Trump’s nominee for secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, isn’t equipped to protect the President from his “own worst instincts.”
The two eventually ventured into the subject of Syria, where the U.S. is in what many think is some sort of pseudo-showdown with Russia.
“Ultimately one has to wonder what is it that the President has such a reluctance to do as it relates to Russia, when they’ve attacked us,” Mendendez said. “… It’s just mind boggling to try to understand what the President is all about when it comes to Russia.”
Hayes mentioned the U.S. airstrikes in response to Syria’s alleged used of chemical weapons in the city of Douma, to which Menendez said he believed Trump should have sought out the authorization of Congress first.
The New Jersey Senator then took his criticism a step further.
“At the end of the day, I don’t know if this was carefully choreographed, because you have a strike against three facilities, the Russians don’t activate their defense missiles against us. The Syrians shoot their missiles after our missiles land, and you wonder — wait a minute, was this a choreographed kabuki show?”
Hayes, slightly alarmed, interrupted and asked Menendez to clarify.
“Are you suggesting that the White House used some backchannel to actually actively coordinate with either Russia or the Assad regime?” Hayes asked.
“I certainly have to wonder,” the Senator replied.
Menendez isn’t the only one wondering. The timeline ever since U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley announced impending sanctions on Russia is a steaming mess. As numerous outlets reported this week, Trump reversed course on the sanctions threat — going over Haley’s head — putting him right back on course with his bizarre deference to Russia. The White House then tried to put the blame for the mixup on Haley’s shoulder’s, drawing her into the Trumplandia drama web for the first time.
Rightly or wrongly, Menendez’s suspicions were likely bolstered by an account from a Washington Post reporter who reportedly “confirmed that the Russians were given a backdoor assurance from the White House” that no new sanctions would be issued. All this coupled with the non-threatening airstrikes against Syria, and a report from Reuters saying the Syrian government and its allies “absorbed” the attack thanks to a warning ahead of time from Russia.
Menendez’s speculations aside, Trump’s brief bellicose rhetoric towards Russia is turning out to be a sham, choreographed kabuki show or not.
Watch the full All In segment in the video below, via MSNBC:
Featured image via screen grab