Donald Trump is often criticized for making outrageous claims that he lets quietly disappear from the news cycle when he doesn’t, or can’t, back them up.
After he won the election in November, the president claimed he was robbed of the popular vote because 3 to 5 million people in the country voted illegally. He threatened to launch a “major investigation” into the matter, led by Vice President Mike Pence, and then discreetly never did.
On March 4, Trump declared on Twitter that the Obama administration wiretapped his offices during the presidential campaign. The president said he had evidence of this, and told Tucker Carlson days later that “you will see some interesting things going to the forefront over the next few weeks.”
Nothing ever came to the forefront.
This week, he said he believed Susan Rice committed a crime when she made dozens of requests seeking to unmask the identities of Trump transition officials who were caught up in the surveillance of foreign officials, but provided no evidence to show how she was guilty.
“It’s a bigger story than you know,” he promised the New York Times. “I think you’re going to see a lot. I think you’ll see a lot. I mean, I frankly think The Times is missing a big thing by not writing it because you’re missing out on the biggest story there is.”
Then Trump used the familiar phrase once more. This time it was at a press conference with the King of Jordan when he was asked by a reporter if he will intervene in Syria directly after Bashar al-Assad’s regime launched a devastating chemical attack against its own citizens.
“One of the things I think you’ve noticed about me is, militarily, I don’t like to say where I’m going and what I doing,” Trump said from the Rose Garden. “And I watched past administrations say, we will attack at such and such a day at such and such an hour. And you, being a warrior — you would say, why are they saying that? And I’m sure you sat back in Jordan, and you said, why are they saying that?”
“I watched Mosul, where the past administration was saying, we will be attacking in four months. And I said, why are they doing that? Then a month goes by, and they say, we will be attacking in three months, and then two months, and then we will be attacking next week. And I’m saying, why are they doing that? And as you know, Mosul turned out to be a much harder fight than anyone thought, and a lot of people have been lost in that fight. I’m not saying I’m doing anything one way or the other, but I’m certainly not going to be telling you.”
“It’s very possible that my attitude towards Assad and Syria has changed very much.”
A little more than 24 hours later after he made that comment, Trump ordered the launch of 59 Tomahawk missiles at an air base in Syria.
“Tonight, I ordered a targeted military strike on the air base in Syria from where the chemical attack was launched,” Trump said from his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida. “It is in this vital national security interest of the United States to prevent and deter the spread and use of deadly chemical weapons.”
He followed through.