U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday said he did not discuss assassinating Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad, disputing an account in a forthcoming book by journalist Bob Woodward.
Trump, speaking to reporters during a visit with Kuwaiti ruler Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah, said a possible assassination was "never even discussed."
"That was never even contemplated, nor would it be contemplated," Trump said, calling Woodward's book "fiction."
'Israel strikes Iranian, Assad regime targets' in Syria ■ Syria, Turkey, Russia and U.S. to square off in Idlib with millions of civilians in the crosshairs | Explained ■ A massacre waiting to happen: For Syria's Idlib, diplomacy may come too late | Analysis
Trump wanted to have Assad assassinated last year but Defense Secretary James Mattis ignored the request, according to the book "Fear: Trump in the White House." Excerpts were published by the Washington Post on Tuesday.
- Putin, Erdogan, and Rohani to Meet Hoping Avoid Bloodbath in Idlib
- This Was Bibi's Best Year Ever. Next Year Could Be His Worst
Trump also said that if there is a slaughter in the Idlib province of Syria, the United States will be very angry. The Syrian military shelled Idlib, the last stronghold of active rebellion against al-Assad, on Wednesday as a war monitor said insurgents blew up a bridge in anticipation of a government offensive.
"That cannot be a slaughter," Trump said about Idlib. "If it is a slaughter the world is going to get very, very angry and the United States is going to get very angry too.”