syria

Syria, Trump and Congress’ Ever-Eroding War Powers
Lawmakers lukewarm to a force-authorization measure for U.S. missile strike

President Donald Trump and his national security team receive a briefing on April 6 about an air strike he ordered on a Syrian air base. (White House photo)

President Donald Trump has gone to great lengths to break from the policies and approaches of his predecessor. Yet, when it came to justifying a round of U.S. military missile strikes in Syria, the new commander in chief dusted off a legal rationale crafted by Barack Obama’s administration.

Like the 44th president, Trump contended that the Constitution vests in the office of the presidency enough war powers to carry out some isolated military operations without lawmakers’ approval.

Analysis: Trump’s Bold Talk Replaced by ‘See What Happens’ Stoicism
From health care to North Korea to Russia, president now strikes a wait-and-see tone

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and U.S. President Donald Trump hold a news conference in the East Room of the White House April 12, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Donald Trump is taking a wait-and-see approach more and more often, following a 2016 campaign that espoused bold promises and exuded confidence.

Take his comments Thursday afternoon about an effort among White House officials and congressional Republicans to try again at repealing and replacing former President Barack Obama’s 2010 health care law.

In Wisconsin, Trump Returns to ‘America First’ Message
Schumer slams Trump for ‘empty’ actions on jobs, trade

President Donald Trump signs an executive order to try to bring jobs back to American workers and revamp the H-1B visa guest worker program during a visit to the headquarters of tool manufacturer Snap-On on April 18, 2017 in Kenosha, Wisconsin. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump returned to his nationalist “America first” message on Tuesday after spending most of the previous 12 days focused on Syria and North Korea.

Trump, until he began speaking at a Snap-On Tools factory in Wisconsin, had appeared in recent days to be drifting a bit from the populist message that helped him win manufacturing states like the one he visited Tuesday, as well as Michigan, Ohio and others. But after touring the plant, he was back at it, hailing “American workers” and threatening countries that “steal” their jobs.

After Saber Rattling, Trump More Measured on North Korea, Russia
Spicer contends president not changing stances, but 'entities' moving toward him

President Donald Trump, seen here with daughter Ivanka Trump and son-in-law Jared Kushner, appeared eager to reassure the world Thursday morning after talking tough on North Korea and Russia. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images file photo)

Updated at 1:56 p.m. After a week of tough talk about North Korea and Russia, President Donald Trump on Thursday morning changed course on both issues. The shift followed an eyebrow-raising 48 hours during which the president also appeared to reverse several domestic policy stances.

Just 18 hours after declaring he is prepared to “go it alone” to deal with North Korea’s nuclear weapons and long-range missile programs, Trump struck a more measured tone in a morning tweet Thursday. And he indicated a growing confidence that Chinese President Xi Jinping will assist in addressing the North Korea challenge.

Trump: US-Russia Relations May Be at an ‘All-Time Low’
President presses NATO chief on members contributing more to alliance’s coffers

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and U.S. President Donald Trump hold a news conference in the East Room of the White House April 12, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump on Wednesday said U.S. relations with Russia could have recently hit an “all-time low” as the two world powers clash over a sarin gas attack in Syria.

The Trump administration, citing U.S. intelligence data, contends the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad carried out the chemical strike, which killed dozens and left children and babies dead. It was the latter images that moved Trump to order the missile strike, he said last week.

Trump: ‘North Korea is Looking for Trouble’
President vows to ‘solve’ problem with or without China

Chinese President Xi and President Trump, along with their wives, pose last Friday during their 24-hour summit in Florida. (Wikimedia Commons)

Five days after firing five dozen Tomahawk missiles at a Syrian air base, President Donald Trump on Tuesday morning threatened to “solve” the North Korea “problem” alone if China refuses to do more.

The president used two Twitter posts to send messages to Pyongyang and its lone remaining ally, China, dangling a trade deal more beneficial for Beijing in return for its help curbing North Korea’s nuclear arms and long-range missile programs.

After Syria Strike, Trump Administration Talks Tough
White House’s domestic focus pivots to warning foes president will ‘act’

The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Ross fires a Tomahawk missile as part of strikes on Syria ordered by President Trump on Thursday evening. (Petty Officer 3rd Class Robert S. Price/U.S. Navy)

The Trump administration is suddenly warning would-be foes and touting its leader as a no-nonsense commander in chief, after focusing mostly on domestic policy for its first 77 days.

Last week, the White House was still very much concentrated on health care, a tax overhaul and other domestic agenda items. It held special advance briefings on Trump’s summit with his Chinese counterpart, addressing trade and his use of the Congressional Review Act. It centered on U.S. jobs and on rolling back Obama-era regulations to give a boost — as the administration contends — to the American economy. Trump’s aides were very much in a mode to enact his “America First” agenda, pushing his efforts to “rebuild our country,” as the president himself often puts it.

Opinion: Good on You, Mr. President
Unleashing missiles on Syria is Trump’s most reassuring action so far

President Donald Trump’s decision to unleash Tomahawk missiles on Syria is his most reassuring action so far, Jonathan Allen writes. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Ironically, President Donald Trump’s decision to fire Tomahawk missiles into Syria is the most reassuring action he’s taken since he was sworn into office nearly three months ago — ironic because even some Trump voters were worried that he didn’t have he right temperament to use America’s arsenal judiciously.

Despite the absence of nuance in his rhetoric, Trump showed that he is capable of deploying force in limited fashion. More important, he displayed a capacity to listen and learn from experts at the Pentagon and in the foreign policy intelligentsia.

White House Cautious on 'Fragile' Syrian Cease-Fire

Syrian refugees walk after a failed attempt to reach the Greek island of Lesbos on Thursday. (Photo by BULENT KILIC/AFP/Getty Images)

The White House is playing a long game in Syria amid a fragile cease-fire, but critics say its patient approach is emboldening Russia.  

Obama administration officials are both pleased with and cautious about a six-day-old cessation of violence agreement in the civil war-torn country.  

Obama, Ryan to Lunch Tuesday at White House

President Barack Obama shakes hands with Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-Wis., as he arrives to deliver his final State of the Union address. (Photo by Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The White House expects President Barack Obama and the Republican House and Senate leaders on Tuesday to discuss issues ranging from taxes to criminal justice to national security.  

Obama is scheduled to meet privately with Speaker Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Later, he and Ryan will have a one-on-one lunch meeting. It will be Obama’s first private meeting with Ryan since the 2012 GOP vice presidential nominee became speaker in late October. Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters the trio should discuss several matters on which they appear to agree. That list includes a sweeping trade pact Obama’s administration negotiated with Asian countries, battling the heroin epidemic, and authorizing the fight against the Islamic State.