Syrian dictator Bashar Assad is giving President Donald Trump a big "eff you" by flying jets out of Shayrat Air Base shortly after this week's missile attack on it – with or without delivering chemical weapons – Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said Sunday.
"I will say this, if you kill babies with conventional bombs it is still a moral outrage," Sen. Graham told NBC's "Meet The Press."
"Here's what I think Assad is telling Trump by flying from this base: 'Eff you,' and I think he is making a serious 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!"
Graham, often a Trump critic despite being among the GOP, said the president already has the authority to escalate the U.S. actions in Syria to hold both it and Russia accountable for their actions in the region, while attacking terrorist groups like ISIS.
"I think ISIS should be Germany and Assad should be Japan, like World War II analogies here," Graham added to host Chuck Todd. "Accelerate the demise of ISIL; they're a direct threat to the homeland, Assad's not.
"But I've never been more encouraged by the Trump administration than I am today."
Graham also said a Syrian regime change should now be "the policy of the Trump administration," because "you'll never end the war with Assad in power."
"You need more American troops to accelerate the demise of ISIL," Graham said. "We're relying too much on the Kurds. More American forces, 5,000 or 6,000, would attract more regional fighters to destroy ISIL.
"You need a safe haven quickly so people can regroup inside of Syria. Then you train the opposition to go after Assad. That's how he's taken out by his own people, with our efforts. And you tell the Russians, 'If you continue to bomb the people we train, we'll shoot you down.'"
Graham concluded the U.S. should investigate Russia's complicity in Syria's use of chemical weapons in addition to their involvement in meddling in the past election.
"War criminals don't police each other very well," Graham told Todd. "The [Vladimir] Putin regime is a bunch of war criminals."
"I would go after them through sanctions for interfering in our election and for aiding and abetting the use of chemical weapons."
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