President Donald Trump's decision to launch a barrage of missiles at Syria last week sent a strong message, but he risks alienating his supporters if he pursues a ground war there, Roger Stone told Newsmax TV.
During an appearance on Friday's "The Steve Malzberg Show," Stone — a Trump confidante who's worked as a political adviser for 30 years — said Trump needs to tread lightly.
"It is, I think, clear that the limited surgical strike in Syria, while it made many Trump supporters unhappy because it appeared to be heading down the path towards an expanded war in Syria, has been very successful from the point of view that it sends a very strong signal to the Chinese, to the Iranians, to the North Koreans particularly," Stone said.
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Stone made the point, however, that if the president follows the reported recommendation of his national security adviser Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster and sends up to 150,000 ground troops into Syria, some of his supporters could jump ship.
"That would be the functional end of Trumpism as far as I'm concerned," said Stone, author of "The Making of the President 2016."
"I think most Trump supporters are pretty happy with his domestic agenda thus far, and he is, I think, going to get the benefit of the doubt on this limited strike in Syria.
"And of course, his attack on ISIS yesterday with the so-called 'mother of all bombs' is completely consistent with what he said during the campaign. He said he would crush ISIS and he will."
Regarding chief White House strategist Steve Bannon, Stone said Bannon made a mistake by not bringing other key supporters of Trump into the White House and his stock is trending down. Ultimately, however, Stone said West Wing personnel matters are more of an inside-Washington thing.
"This is great inside the beltway, but no voter out there cares about presidential staff members," Stone said. "They care about whether the president is or is not pursuing the agenda that he outlined during the election."
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