On Wednesday, Congressman Tom Massie (R-Ky.) left CNN host Kate Bolduan speechless when he chose to defend Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the wake of his government’s recent chemical attack that killed many Syrian men, women, and children.
Appearing on At This Hour, the GOP lawmaker voiced his disagreement with Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) over his call for U.S. military intervention following the massacre in the Syrian city of Khan Sheikhoun.
“Well, you know, we had testimony from a military expert in front of Congress that said that’s a virtual act of war in Syria, and that we would be at war with the Russians at that point. I think it’s a bad idea,” Massie explained.
Bolduan then played a video of 7-year-old Bana Alabed, a little girl who had documented the many horrors of the Syrian conflict on Twitter. In the heartbreaking video, Alabed pleads to the world for help:
“I want to stop the war, and I want the children of Syria play and go to school, live in peace. We can — we can help them. Together, we can save them.”
After the video, Bolduan made the mistake of expecting the Republican to at least feign some empathy for the Syrian child’s situation, but instead, she received a rude wake-up call.
To be clear, what she said right there is that’s all she wants,” Bolduan explained. “She wants for the children of Syria to play and go to school. She’s pleading for help. What do you say to her, congressman?”
Massie dismissed the video, coldly stating that “President Trump campaigned on a more restrained foreign policy,” and that the U.S. failed to create “a better school environment for the children in Iraq, frankly, by destabilizing that country, and I don’t think it serves the children of Syria or anybody in the United States to further destabilize Syria.”
Visibly appalled the host asked:
“So you say — you hear that plea from her, you see the images coming out of Syria and you think the best policy for the United states right now is to do nothing?”
Massie tried continued to retreat:
“What I’m saying is we might end up making the situation worse if we launch air strikes,” Massie parried. “So we really need to step back and take a good look at this. The first casualty of war is the truth and it’s hard to know what’s happening in Syria right now. I would like to know how the release of gas happened, if it did occur. And frankly I don’t know if Assad had done that.”
Still, in disbelief, Bolduan pressed:
“Who do you think is behind it? You think — who do you think is behind it?”
However, Massie’s reply may have made her wish she hadn’t asked.
“You know, you’ve got a war going on over there,” Massie attempted to explain. “Supposedly the air strike was on an ammo dump, and so I don’t know if it was released because there was gas stored in the ammo dump or not. That’s plausible. I’m not saying that’s what I think happened, but –.”
“You’re more inclined the position of what Bashar al-Assad is saying and what the Russians are saying than more inclined to believe what even your colleagues here in the United States believe is true, that this is Assad, and what human rights observers say is Assad?” an incredulous Bolduan asked as she cut him off.
“I don’t think it would have served Assad’s purposes to do a chemical attack on his own people. So, you know, it’s hard for me to understand why he would do that, if he did.”
Bolduan was floored. The host could only shake her head as she thanked the Republican congressman for appearing.