Trump supporters turn on the president over Syria strike

High-profile figures pour scorn on Trump’s decision but many voters defend him

A Donald Trump supporter during a “Make  America Great Again” march in Huntington Beach, California, on March 25th. Photograph: Eugene Garcia/EPA

A Donald Trump supporter during a “Make America Great Again” march in Huntington Beach, California, on March 25th. Photograph: Eugene Garcia/EPA

 

The US missile strike on a Syrian air base has been welcomed by many of the country’s allies, including the UK, France and Australia, as well as Republicans often critical of the Trump administration such as senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham.

But the complexity of the issue for President Donald Trump, and the danger it holds for his future prospects of re-election, are illustrated by the reaction from some of his own support base, for whom Trump’s intervention in the Syrian conflict is an ill-advised betrayal of his “America First” campaign promise.

Ann Coulter, the conservative social commentator and author of In Trump We Trust, tweeted: “Trump campaigned on not getting involved in Mideast. Said it always helps our enemies & creates more refugees. Then he saw a picture on TV.”

She noted: “Media THRILLED that Trump is destroying his presidency”, and said that “Meddling in the Middle East has destroyed every president who’s ever tried it”.

Right-wing commentator Paul Joseph Watson, editor of Infowars.com, tweeted he was “officially OFF the Trump train”. “I guess Trump wasn’t “Putin’s puppet” after all, he was just another deep state/Neo-Con puppet,” he wrote.

He added: “It’s been fun lads, but the fun is over. I’ll be focusing my efforts on Le Pen, who tried to warn Trump against this disaster.”

Alt-right leader Richard Spencer tweeted provocatively: “#StandWithAssad”. “If Bannon does not resign, I will have lost a tremendous amount of respect for him. #NoWarInSyria” he wrote of Trump’s senior adviser Stephen Bannon.

The far-right Twitter account Baked Alaska, which has 154,000 followers, discussed the divisions among Trump supporters, and tweeted:

“People praising the Syria attack:

-Hillary

-McCain

-Lindsay Graham

-Paul Ryan

-Leftists

People against the attack:

-Real Trump Supporters”

But many Trump voters took issue with the criticism and, in a sign of a split in the camp, came out to defend the president. “Sometimes you have to send a message so you don’t have to invade or occupy. This was simply a show of strength to the world. Well done POTUS,” wrote WEEK 11 OF 208/416 @Scottyc11.

For many, jingoistic tendencies appeared to override any impulse that Trump’s move may have been just what the “establishment” would have done.

“President Trump sent a loud, clear, unmistakable message to Russia, Iran, China & North Korea: Don’t Mess With USA,” wrote Gary Nabhan @GPN14.