After President Donald Trump ordered a missile strike on a Syrian airbase Thursday in direct response to a Syrian regime–ordered gas attack on civilians earlier this week, many Republican lawmakers applauded his leadership.
For a lot of them, it was an about-face from four years ago.
In 2013, President Barack Obama asked Congress for military authorization to intervene in Syria after a similar chemical attack. But Republicans in Congress said no.
House Speaker Paul Ryan was among them. Under Obama, Ryan said any response from the United States over Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad’s use of chemical weapons would be a “feckless show of force,” adding, "Syria's civil war isn't our fight, but we have a stake in the outcome.”
Now, with a Republican president in the White House, many of those same voices have changed their tune — including Ryan. In a statement Thursday night, Ryan called Trump’s actions “appropriate and just.”
“These tactical strikes make clear that the Assad regime can no longer count on American inaction as it carries out atrocities against the Syrian people,” Ryan said in a statement.
The House speaker is not the only one who had a change of heart. CNN’s Andrew Kaczynski pointed out the many other Republican lawmakers who flipped in their responses to military intervention in Syria:
Of course, the hypocrisy doesn’t stop with Capitol Hill. Trump himself was highly critical of Obama’s ask for military authorization in 2013, tweeting multiple times that the United States should not intervene in Syria and should focus instead on domestic problems:
The only reason President Obama wants to attack Syria is to save face over his very dumb RED LINE statement. Do NOT attack Syria,fix U.S.A.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 5, 2013