A CNN host was left speechless Wednesday morning after a Republican congressman responded to a plea from a Syrian girl for help by defending President Bashar al-Assad.
Appearing on At This Hour with Kate Bolduan, Rep. Tom Massie (R-KY) pushed back at a call from Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) to intervene in Syria after a horrific chemical weapon attack in Khan Sheikhoun.
“Well, you know, we had testimony from a military expert in front of Congress that said that’s a virtual act of war in Syria, and that we would be at war with the Russians at that point. I think it’s a bad idea,” Massie explained.
Host Bolduan then showed Massie a clip of 7-year-old Bana Alabed, who has documented the horrors of the Syrian war on Twitter, asking for help and saying, “I want to stop the war, and I want the children of Syria play and go to school, live in peace. We can — we can help them. Together, we can save them.”
“To be clear, what she said right there is that’s all she wants,” Bolduan explained. “She wants for the children of Syria to play and go to school. She’s pleading for help. What do you say to her, congressman?”
Saying “President Trump campaigned on a more restrained foreign policy,” Massie noted that the U.S. didn’t create “a better school environment for the children in Iraq, frankly, by destabilizing that country, and I don’t think it serves the children of Syria or anybody in the United States to further destabilize Syria.”
“So you say — you hear that plea from her, you see the images coming out of Syria and you think the best policy for the United states right now is to do nothing?” a stunned Bolduan asked.
“What I’m saying is we might end up making the situation worse if we launch air strikes,” Massie parried. “So we really need to step back and take a good look at this. The first casualty of war is the truth and it’s hard to know what’s happening in Syria right now. I would like to know how the release of gas happened, if it did occur. And frankly I don’t know if Assad had done that.
“Who do you think is behind it? You think — who do you think is behind it?” Bolduan pressed.
“You know, you’ve got a war going on over there,” Massie attempted to explain. “Supposedly the air strike was on an ammo dump, and so I don’t know if it was released because there was gas stored in the ammo dump or not. That’s plausible. I’m not saying that’s what I think happened, but –.”
“You’re more inclined the position of what Bashar al-Assad is saying and what the Russians are saying than more inclined to believe what even your colleagues here in the United States believe is true, that this is Assad, and what human rights observers say is Assad?” an incredulous Bolduan asked as she cut him off.
“I don’t think it would have served Assad’s purposes to do a chemical attack on his own people. So, you know, it’s hard for me to understand why he would do that, if he did,” Massie explained as Bolduan was rendered speechless and shook her head as she thanked him for appearing.
Watch the video below via CNN: