- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 6, 2017

A Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee is calling on President Trump to take a “very strong stand” against Syrian President Bashar Assad and pressure Russia to condemn the chemical attacks against government rebels in the ongoing civil war.

Sen. Gary Peters of Michigan said Thursday on CNN’s “New Day” that Assad “absolutely” must be removed from power, arguing he has “no business being there.”

“Here we have the Russians denying this activity,” Mr. Peters said. “They are clearly with Assad and yet I think this is probably another test for the Trump administration: Are you going to continue to side with the Russians, or are we going to have a path that is really a path for America and our national security?

“The Russians have to stop propping up Asaad,” he added. “Trump should try to work with them to try to get them to condemn Assad and then make sure the world community unites as well to push him out. He simply cannot stay there.”

During the presidential campaign last year, Mr. Trump downplayed the idea of removing Mr. Assad from power, but changed his tone this week following the chemical weapons attack.

“That attack on children yesterday had a big impact on me, big impact,” Mr. Trump said. “That was a horrible, horrible thing. My attitude toward Syria and Assad has changed very much.”

Mr. Peters said the Trump administration has been “all over the board” on its policy toward Syria.

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