White House forced to walk back briefing after Sean Spicer accidentally leaves world bracing for war with Syria
Sean Spicer (CNN/screen grab)

Sean Spicer on Monday was forced to walk back his earlier claim that Donald Trump’s administration will respond to barrel bomb attacks, clarifying that despite the White House press secretary’s bombast, "nothing has changed in our posture.”


Spicer told reporters Monday at his daily briefing that the president is poised to take further action if Syrian President Bahar al-Assad’s regime continues to bomb civilians.

“The answer is, if you gas a baby, if you put a barrel bomb into innocent people, I think you will see a response from this president,” Spicer told reporters. “Make no mistake: he will act.”

Spicer’s response came after sustained praise for the president following his decision to bomb a Syrian air force base in response to the al-Assad regime’s chemical gas attack on civilians last Tuesday.

"I can't imagine a stable and peaceful Syria where Bashar al-Assad is in power," Spicer said later in the conference. "We're ensuring that ISIS is contained—and the proliferation of chemical weapons—at the same time creating the environment for a change in leadership.

Later Monday, the White House press secretary seemed to walk back the notion the United States would escalate a military engagement with Syria if al-Assad continues to use barrel bombs. In 2016, the Syrian Network for Human Rights estimated the al-Assad regime dropped 35 bombs per day.

"Nothing has changed in our posture," Spicer said in a statement. "The president retains the option to act in Syria against the Assad regime whenever it is in the national interest, as was determined following that government's use of chemical weapons against its own citizens. And as the President has repeatedly made clear, he will not be telegraphing his military responses."