Trump Confirms He Wanted to Assassinate Assad After Denying Original Woodward Report

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Syrian President Bashar Assad during an interview with the BBC, in Damascus, Syria, February 10, 2015
Syrian President Bashar Assad during an interview with the BBC, in Damascus, Syria, February 10, 2015Credit: SANA via AP

U.S. President Donald Trump confirmed for the first time that in 2017 he supported assassinating Syrian President Bashar Assad, but that then-Defense Secretary Jim Mattis opposed it. 

“I would've rather taken him out. I had him all set. Mattis didn’t want to do it. Mattis was a highly overrated general," Trump said on "Fox & Friends" on Tuesday.

Trump also repeated that he "fired" Mattis - which is not true as Mattis resigned in a scortching letter over Trump's Syria policy.

Trump added that he had no regrets about no targeting Assad, saying he "could've lived either way."

Journalist Bob Woodward reported in his 2018 book, "Fear," that Trump urged Mattis that the U.S. should “f--king kill” Assad following an April 2017 chemical attack in Syria that killed scores of civilians and resulted in U.S. airstrikes. Trump had repeatedly denied Woodward's claim. 

The assassination plot is only one of many explosive revelations included in Woodward’s book on Trump’s first 18 months in office.

According to the journalist, who is again rocking Washington, D.C. with his latest book “Rage,” Trump’s chief of staff privately called him an “idiot” and presidential aides plucked sensitive documents off Trump’s desk and thought he was often unaware of foreign policy basics.

Woodward quotes an exasperated Chief of Staff John Kelly doubting Trump’s mental faculties, declaring during one meeting, “We’re in Crazytown.” The book shows that both Mattis and Kelly privately trashed their boss as incompetent, even viewing him as a threat to national security.

Woodward also quotes Trump saying to Rudy Giuliani: "Rudy, you're a baby," Trump told the man who is now his personal attorney. "I've never seen a worse defense of me in my life. They took your diaper off right there. You're like a little baby that needed to be changed. When are you going to be a man?"

And, Trump saying about Attorney General Jeff Sessions: "This guy is mentally retarded. He’s this dumb Southerner. … He couldn’t even be a one-person country lawyer down in Alabama."

John Kelly on Trump: "He’s an idiot. It’s pointless to try to convince him of anything. He’s gone off the rails. We’re in Crazytown. I don’t even know why any of us are here. This is the worst job I’ve ever had."

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