Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona praised President Donald Trump for authorizing an April 6 missile attack against Syria, lauding the move as a necessary "beginning" that will help win over those who do not support the president.
"This is a beginning, and a lot of hard things have to be done, but without this [airstrike], those other things couldn't have been done either," McCain said on the April 7 edition of MSNBC's "Morning Joe."
The senator said he discussed the situation with National Security Adviser Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster and Defense Secretary James Mattis, both of whom he said "realize this is a long, hard slog" that has "been eight years in the making."
Trump authorized the Pentagon to fire 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at the Middle Eastern nation after officials said Syrian President Bashar Assad's administration attacked Syrians near the city of Hom with chemical weapons, reports The New York Times.
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Dozens of people -- between 69 and 100, depending on different reports -- died from the toxic gas. Assad has said that his military was not behind it.
"[President Trump] now has an opportunity to reboot with the American people, at least as far as national security is concerned," McCain, who is also the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, told MSNBC. "I've heard you all discuss the polling numbers he has. I think he will see the American people probably approve of this. What American didn’t see the pictures of those dead babies?"
McCain praised Trump for keeping his word and for striking back once a "red line" had been crossed, unlike former President Barack Obama, who did not launch missiles at Assad following a chemical attack in Syria.
McCain believes this will set a precedent for other world powers like North Korea, the nation McCain said was the greatest threat to U.S. safety.
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The war hero has been vocal about the situation in Syria and called the Trump administration's stance on Assad "another disgraceful chapter in American history," before the president authorized the attack, according to CNN.
"I want to hear [President Trump] say we're going to arm the free Syrian army," McCain told CNN at the time. "We're going to dedicate ourselves to the removal of Bashar al-Assad. We're going to have the Russians pay a price for their engagement. All players here are going to have to pay a penalty and the United States of America is going to be on the side of people who fight for freedom."