Many of President Donald Trump’s biggest supporters in the media world are slamming his decision to bomb Syria on Friday, describing the move as a betrayal of his campaign promises to avoid entangling the US in more foreign conflicts as president.
A number of them are skeptical of reports that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime used chemical weapons against civilians, which is what prompted Trump to carry out airstrikes on his chemical weapons program in the first place. And some appear to believe the attacks are “false flag” operations designed to lure the president into war.
“I just feel like I just had my best girlfriend break up with me,” Alex Jones, the host of Infowars and a prominent right-wing conspiracy theorist, said on Friday during a live stream after the strikes were announced. “The left will make jokes but this ain’t funny, man.”
In the runup to Trump’s decision to carry out the strikes, Jones argued that the chemical attacks that happened earlier in April were staged by Syrian rebels to bait the US to intervene. He also claims that Trump consults with him over the phone from time to time — but felt that the Syria strike crossed a line. “If you ever call me again I’m going to tell you I’m ashamed of you,” Jones said.
Other conservatives who oppose interventions largely agreed with the sentiment. Mike Savage, a prominent radio show host, saw Trump’s attack as an undeniable sign that he had given into the establishment. “We lost. War machine bombs Syria. No evidence Assad did it. Sad warmongers hijacking our nation,” he tweeted Friday.
Michael Cernovich, an alt-right media personality and Trump booster, has demanded more evidence of the chemical attacks. “Magic gas that only kills women and children. And also disables all cell networks so that no one is able to post any videos from the ground,” he tweeted Saturday.
Fox News hosts Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham have both criticized Trump’s Syria strike as risky, saying they’re at odds with his earlier pledges to refrain from interventions. “I guess it feels good because there are horrible things happening there,” Ingraham said on Friday. “But what do we really accomplish here tonight in Syria? This is not why Donald Trump got elected.”
“This is clearly not something he ran on, and and it’s inconsistent with a lot of things that he’s said over the years,” Carlson said on his show before the attacks were officially announced.
Right-wing personality and author Ann Coulter retweeted people who floated the possibility that the chemical attacks were entirely fabricated or staged by people wanting to frame Assad and encourage the US to strike Syria.
And in the comment sections at Breitbart News, the far-right news site formerly headed by once-White House strategist Steve Bannon, people expressed rage over Trump’s decision to strike Syria.
Trump has angered his America First base in the past
This isn’t the first time many of Trump’s anti-interventionist supporters have felt betrayed by his foreign policy actions.
In August, when Trump announced he was sending more troops to Afghanistan, he received tons of pushback from his America First devotees. “Who’s going to pay for it? What is our measure of success? We didn’t win with 100K troops. How will we win with 4,000 more?” tweeted Ingraham at the time. Breitbart blasted the decision as a “flip-flop” that would lead to “endless war.” The site blamed “globalists” in the administration for pushing “more war abroad,” arguing that “Washington doesn’t know” what victory even means in Afghanistan.
And when Trump carried out a strike against Syria almost exactly a year ago, he elicited a similar wave of anger and disillusionment among many of his most hardcore media allies and online followers. “This is unbelievable. This is not what we voted for. This is definitely not what we voted for,” Cernovich told his followers at the time.