WASHINGTON (CBSNewYork) — During a meeting on trade with Republican governors and lawmakers at the White House on Thursday, President Donald Trump said he would be meeting on Syria and will “see what happens” with regards to a possible military response to a suspected chemical attack in Syria over the weekend.
“We’re having a meeting today on Syria and we’re having a number of meetings today, we’ll see what happens,” said Trump.
“We’re looking very, very seriously, very closely at that situation and we’ll see what happens folks, we’ll see what happens, it’s too bad the world puts us in a position like that,” he added.
Trump said a decision on an appropriate response would be made “fairly soon.”
He made the statement in an early morning tweet Thursday.
“Never said when an attack on Syria would take place. Could be very soon or not so soon at all! In any event, the United States, under my Administration, has done a great job of ridding the region of ISIS,” the president said. “Where is our ‘Thank you America?’”
Earlier Trump had said an attack on Syria “could be very soon or not so soon at all!”
In a tweet Wednesday, the president told Russia to “get ready,” warning that missiles “will be coming.” He added that Moscow “shouldn’t be partners with a Gas Killing Animal who kills his people and enjoys it!”
Russia, a key ally of Syria, has promised to retaliate against any missile strikes that come into Syria in response to last week’s suspected chemical attack that killed dozens in Syria.
White House officials haven’t yet said what action the U.S. and its allies will take.
As CBS2’s Dick Brennan reported Thursday, it appears Secretary of Defense James Mattis is advocating for a cautious approach, saying any U.S. action could provoke a major reaction.
“On a strategic level, it’s how do we keep this from escalating out of control?” he said.
On Capitol Hill, Trump’s nominee for Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told lawmakers he does not believe the president needs Congressional approval for a strike against Syria.
“Multiple administrations have found that the president has the authority to act and take certain actions without first coming to Congress to seek approval,” he said.
Mattis said the administration will alert lawmakers before any action is taken.
Complicating an immediate response, the United Nations Security Council announced that a chemical watchdog group has arrived on the ground in Syria to begin its investigation.
In the meantime, French President Emmanuel Macron said he has proof of a chemical attack, but wouldn’t say what it was. He said his country is working closely with the White House.
Syria and its allies have denied all responsibility for the alleged gas attack. Russia also said it visited the sight of the suspected attack and said it found no evidence to support the claims.