- The Washington Times - Monday, April 16, 2018

President Trump hailed the success of the U.S.-led missiles strikes on Syria Monday, boasting that the Russian military was unable to shoot down even one of the allies’ missiles last weekend.

“With way over 100 missies shot in, they [Russia and Syria] didn’t shoot one down,” Mr. Trump said to cheers at an event on the economy in Hialeah, Florida. “The equipment didn’t work too well, their equipment.”

The president scoffed at reports that Syrian and Russian air defense systems had shot down dozens of the U.S. missiles.

“You heard, ‘Oh they shot 40 down. Then they shot 50 down,’” Mr. Trump said. He insisted, “Every single one hit their target.”

The president told the crowd, “We just had a big successful hit. Did our generals do a great job?”

Mr. Trump also introduced his new national security adviser, John Bolton, who received a standing ovation from the crowd.

“John that’s pretty good, I didn’t expect that,” Mr. Trump joked. “I’m a little jealous.”

Mr. Trump asked the crowd, “Are you giving him all the credit? You know that means the end of his job.”

The White House said Monday that Mr. Trump still wants to pull U.S. troops out of Syria, despite a boast by France’s president that he persuaded Mr. Trump to commit American forces to the war-torn nation for the long term.

“We still have troops on the ground, but the president wants to bring those people home and that hasn’t shifted,” said White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, adding “we don’t have a time frame on it.”

French President Emmanuel Macron said after allied forces launched a missile attack in Syria last weekend that he persuaded Mr. Trump to station U.S. troops there for the long run. Mr. Trump announced before the missile strikes that he wanted to withdraw about 2,000 U.S. troops in Syria as soon as possible.

In a TV interview Sunday night, Mr. Macron took the credit for the strike in Syria, saying he worked out a list of targets with Mr. Trump and persuaded him to limit action to chemical-weapons facilities.

Mrs. Sanders aid U.S. policy in Syria “hasn’t changed.”

“We’re still committed to defeating ISIS. We wanted to see that happen,” she said. “The president also wants the people in the region, our Gulf partners, to step up and do more.”

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