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."
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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.
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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.”