When you’re president, apparently you can have your cake and strike Syria, too.
President Donald Trump, in an interview with Fox Business, said he informed Chinese President Xi Jinping about the air strikes he authorized in Syria over the “most beautiful piece of chocolate cake that you’ve ever seen” at his ocean-side club and that the communist leader was “enjoying it.”
“I was sitting at the table. We had finished dinner. We’re now having dessert. And we had the most beautiful piece of chocolate cake that you’ve ever seen and President Xi was enjoying it,” Trump said, before telling interviewer Maria Bartiromo he was told the strike was ready to go.
Trump added that he told Xi that the United States had “just fired 59 missiles … heading to Iraq,” incorrectly identifying the country he was striking when relaying the story to Bartiromo.
Of Xi, Trump said, “And he was eating his cake. And he was silent.”
“We were almost finished. It was a full day in Palm Beach. We’re almost finished and I, what does he do, finish his dessert and go home,” Trump asked rhetorically.
Xi, the President said, paused for 10 seconds before telling Trump — via a interpreter — that “anybody that was so brutal and uses gases to do that young children and babies, it’s OK” to respond with force.
Trump, in one of his biggest foreign policy tests to date, struck Syria with a series of tomahawk missiles last week while he also met with the Chinese president at Mar-A-Lago, his private club in Florida.
The strike, which was in response a chemical attack on a rebel-held town that the United States has blamed on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, has been widely praised by the international community, but denied by Russia, a close Assad ally.
Trump, later in the interview, said he “immediately” called Defense Secretary James Mattis after he saw the images of children dying from the chemical attack and asked, “What can we do?”
“We hit them very hard,” Trump said. “Now, are we going to get involved with Syria? No. But if I see them using gas and using things that, I mean even some of the worst tyrants in the world didn’t use the kind of gases that they used.”