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Sen. Graham: Assad Saying 'F You' to Trump By Flying From Bombed Airfield

by Kailani Koenig /
Senate Judiciary Committee member Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. questions Supreme Court Justice nominee Neil Gorsuch during the committee's confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, March 21, 2017.Susan Walsh / AP

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WASHINGTON – South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham said Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's decision to launch warplanes from Shayrat Airfield just hours after it was bombed by U.S. cruise missiles was a "huge mistake."

“Here’s what I think Assad’s telling Trump by flying from this base: ‘F you,’” Graham said on “Meet The Press.” “And I think he’s making a huge mistake. Because if you're an adversary of the United States and you don’t worry about what Trump may do on any given day, then you’re crazy."

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President Trump ordered the cruise missile strikes on the airfield Thursday evening in response to a deadly chemical attack that the United States has blamed on al-Assad's regime. On Friday, Syrian activists reported jets taking off from the airbase that was hit, and airstrikes were reported in the same town that was targeted by the chemical attack.

“I have to say, you used the initials, but I think that’s a first for 'Meet The Press,' Senator Graham,” host Chuck Todd said.

Graham was responding to a question about whether there is any moral difference between chemical attacks and barrel bombs.

“I’ll say this, if you kill babies with conventional bombs, it's still a moral outrage,” he said.

Graham said he supports the president’s decision to order the strikes, but wants to see more from the administration on Syria.

“I’m glad Trump did this. He is no longer Obama in the eyes of our enemies but he needs to do more to close the deal. There’s a new sheriff in town,” Graham said.

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