President Trump made an unannounced trip to Dover Air Force Base to meet with the families of four Americans who were killed by a suicide bombing in Syria over the weekend. President Trump called visits with families of fallen soldiers the hardest thing he has to do as president, noting, “When I’m going to meet relatives of some of our great, great heroes that have fallen, I think it might be the toughest thing I have to do as president.”
Many have alleged that the suicide bombing is evidence that Trump’s proposed pullout of American troops is, at the very least, foolhardy and poorly timed. Some even argue that the pullout will benefit Russia and Iran, which are both operating in Syria, trying to assure that the al-Assad regime remains in power.
Trump argues otherwise. According to the president, by staying in Syria, the United States is killing Islamic State members for Russia and Syria. By pulling out, the full burden will be on Iran and Russia. And, American troops will be less exposed to attacks.
The suicide bombing in Syria marked the deadliest attack on American forces in the country. The United States has been able to keep casualties low by relying on local partners, including Kurds, to do most of the frontline attacks. The United States has largely played a support role.
At Dover, Trump participated in a prayer aboard a C-17 cargo plane with the four caskets on board. After that, President Trump remained locked in salute while servicemen carried the caskets off the plane. The visit marked the second stop for Trump at Dover to honor fallen American soldiers. Previously, Trump honored a Navy SEAL who was killed in a raid in Yemen.
According to Trump, the on-going situation in Syria was an inherited mess, one that he has been trying to clean up. Trump argues that the United States has, if anything, scaled up attacks against the Islamic State.