President Trump was taking his response to the Syria chemical weapons attack seriously, focusing on the issue and meeting regularly with his national security team, so aides were shocked when he tweeted Wednesday morning that Russia needed to "get ready" for U.S. missiles to hit Syria, several officials told The Washington Post.
On Saturday, a suspected gas attack killed dozens of people in a rebel-held town outside Damascus, and after days of weighing his options carefully, Trump tweeted: "Russia vows to shoot down any and all missiles fired at Syria. Get ready Russia, because they will be coming, nice and new and 'smart!' You shouldn't be partners with a Gas Killing Animal who kills his people and enjoys it!"
The tweet was "alarming" and "distracting," White House officials told the Post, and they decided the best thing to do was ignore his message and pretend he never tweeted it, instead working with the Pentagon to come up with Syria options for Trump. Trump has been acting on impulse for the last several weeks, the officials told the Post, and that includes telling aides last month he wanted all U.S. troops out of Syria within 48 hours — an impossible task. For more on how aides are working to talk Trump out of various actions lately, visit The Washington Post.