Trump suddenly tweets explanation for not bombing runway

Commentary: After the bombing of a Syrian airport, the president turns to Twitter to answer a question that he must have felt many were asking.

Chris Matyszczyk
2 min read

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Tweeting explanations of military strategy.


It seems we are headed for war.

At least between Jared Kushner and Steve Bannon.

Moreover, President Donald Trump has now embraced a slightly less-than-nationalist phase by launching a missile strike against an airport in Syria. (It was, he said, retaliation for a chemical attack that killed children.)

Still, on Saturday, the president's Twitter account suddenly focused on a different aspect of the strike.

Out of the blue, he tweeted: "The reason you don't generally hit runways is that they are easy and inexpensive to quickly fix (fill in and top)!"

Some might have been surprised that the president was using Twitter to sound like a military expert. Others might have been even more surprised that this tweet seemed to come in response to a question that hadn't yet been universally asked.

Yes, some have grumbled that Russia was informed of the bombing in advance, which means the Russians must have told the Syrians. Others may have found it disturbing that the Syrian planes were taking off from this same airport just a few hours after the bombing.

But even liberal commentators were gushing that the bombing made the president look, well, presidential.

So why open this debate on Twitter? Lately, the president's Twittering has been on the quiet-to-formal spectrum. Sometimes, though, his Twitter trigger-finger seems to reflect a need to deflect some element that's disturbing his inner being.

Naturally, the responses to his tweet flowed swiftly.

Some chose to feature a Trump tweet from 2012 that read: "Now that Obama's poll numbers are in tailspin -- watch for him to launch a strike in Libya or Iran. He is desperate."

Others chose a Trump tweet from 2013 that mused: "The President must get Congressional approval before attacking Syria -- big mistake if he does not!"

Some remaining stoically rueful. "Many smart people agree that Donald Trump 'explaining' his so-called military strategy on Twitter is sad. Period!" tweeted David Nuzzy Nussbaum.

It's odd, though, that the president chose to tweet about something he didn't do, rather than something he did.

But the tweet doesn't seem to have convinced China. On Saturday, Chinese state news agency Xinhua insisted that the missile strike was merely a tactic to make people believe that Trump wasn't quite so pro-Russia.

Will Trump offer a tweeted denial?