President Donald Trump is facing backlash from his far-right allies following Friday’s United States-led airstrikes on Syria, with the “America First” president coming under conservative scrutiny for involving the country more deeply in another foreign conflict.
“Americans should not die fighting a war that’s NOT OURS TO FIGHT,” rightwing pundit Tomi Lahren tweeted early Saturday morning.
The U.S., United Kingdom and France on Friday launched airstrikes on targets in Syria in response to Bashar Assad’s latest apparent chemical attack, which left dozens dead in the rebel-held city of Douma.
United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley said the move was “justified, legitimate and proportionate,” and Trump took a victory lap Saturday, declaring “Mission Accomplished!” — calling to mind former President George W. Bush’s infamously premature proclamation in 2003 that “in the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed.
But among the far right, which had been home to some of Trump’s most loyal and vocal supporters, that criticism seemed to suggest a sense of betrayal.
Alex Jones, the founder of the right-wing conspiracy theory web site InfoWars, lashed out at the Trump in a tear-filled tirade against the president, whom he described as a “fraud.”
“If he had been a piece of crap from the beginning, it wouldn’t be so bad,” Jones said. “We’ve made so many sacrifices and now he’s crapping all over us. It makes me sick.”
Trump ran for office on a non-interventionist platform, famously — and falsely — claiming that he had always been against the U.S. invasion of Iraq. During his inaugural address in 2017, he lamented that the U.S. has “defended other nation’s borders while refusing to defend our own, and spent trillions and trillions of dollars overseas while America’s infrastructure has fallen into disrepair and decay.” And, since assuming the presidency, he has repeatedly sought a more isolationist approach to foreign affairs.
“America first will be the overriding theme of my administration,” Trump said in an April 2016 foreign policy address. “I will never send our finest into battle unless necessary, and I mean absolutely necessary, and will only do so if we have a plan for victory with a capital V.”
But he has also escalated ongoing American military campaigns and threatened to engage the U.S. in new conflicts, including in North Korea. What’s more, he recently tapped notorious hawk John Bolton — Bush’s mustachioed ambassador to the U.N. — to be his new national security adviser.
Such “globalist interventionism” was not what some on the far-right thought they were getting when they pulled the lever for Trump, they indicated Saturday.
“This is not ‘America First,’” Paul Joseph Watson, editor-at-large for Jones’ InfoWars, tweeted ahead of the joint airstrike Friday. “This is not what Trump was elected for.”