President Donald Trump will not let Syria off the hook for this week's deadly chemical attacks, Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy said Thursday morning, but he was not sure yet if there will be a policy shift.
"I think the president is a very empathetic guy," Ruddy, a long-time friend of the president, told MSNBC's Stephanie Ruhle. "I know sometimes we see him on TV and he seems rough and tough, but I think he has a lot of empathy. I would not want to be [Syrian President Bashar al] Assad at this moment."
Ruddy said he also thinks former President Barack Obama made a "terrible mistake" by not taking action after drawing his "red line" on aggression in Syria.
"I advocated that the president had the ability to use the force and he should have been done it without Congress," said Ruddy. "It was a big mistake. I think President Trump now thinks that's a mistake, that they should have used it, and I think there'll be some strike."
Ruddy said he does not think a potential strike on Assad's regime will be a "total war." Trump on Wednesday said the gas bombs and the killing of women, children and babies changed his view on Syria.
"He's very resolute when he comes to make a conclusion like that," said Ruddy.
Meanwhile, Trump has also had serious words to China in the past, including calling the country "our enemy" in 2013, Ruhle said, but Ruddy replied that he believes Trump's negotiations will be effective.
"Well, I think in the lexicon of Donald Trump, enemy is not a bad word," said Ruddy. "He's called the press an enemy of the people. I'm in the press."
Ruddy said he spoke with Trump just over a week ago on the telephone about the meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, and "he described it as ‘the big one.'”
"I think it's the biggest summit he's had so far," said Ruddy. "You're dealing with China, which is the second largest economy in the world. Much more important than Russia which has the GDP of Mexico ... China is very important to the strategic interests and the economic interests of the United States and I think the president recognizes that and that's why he's invited President Xi to his home in Florida."
Ruddy also discussed North Korea, saying that the president recognizes that the country is a grave danger.
"We're now at a precipice because now they have nuclear warheads that we've turned a blind eye to over many administrations, but they are very close to getting ballistic missile capability that can deliver those weapons perhaps to Hawaii and soon California," said Ruddy.
Trump is saying China has a strong influence on North Korea, and "we should force them or pressure them to act," said Ruddy. "I think it's actually a pretty clever policy right now."
Ruddy also discussed the decision to remove Trump's chief strategist Steve Bannon from the National Security Council, and reports that Bannon threatened to resign.
"If he does, is that a gift to President Trump?" asked Ruhle, but Ruddy said he has not heard that Trump wants Bannon to leave.
"The president's only spoken very highly to me of Steve Bannon," said Ruddy. "Steve was very loyal to him when very few people supported him."
© 2021 Newsmax. All rights reserved.