As Aleppo descends into chaos and death, the journalists at NBC and ABC on Wednesday avoided singling out Barack Obama’s foreign policy. Instead, NBC focused on the present and said America is “powerless” to do anything. It was only CBS This Morning that hosted a discussion on culpability of Barack Obama’s inaction. Talking to Republican strategist Dan Senor, co-host Charlie Rose wondered if the Syrian crisis should be connected to “Barack Obama and the administration that has been in power and had an opportunity to do something.”
Senor hammered the President: “In 2011, the assault on civilians began. President Obama did nothing. 2013, the red line was issued. President Obama didn't follow through with it. 2014 and 2015, Russia intervention, which took the human catastrophe down to a whole other level.”
The New York Post on Wednesday reported, “Syrian forces slaughtered at least 82 civilians — including women and children fleeing from their homes — this week in what the United Nations deemed a ‘complete meltdown of humanity’ in the war-torn city of Aleppo."
In contrast to CBS, Today reporter Bill Neely on NBC flatly stated, “Well, the U.S. is protesting what's happening in Aleppo, but it is powerless to stop it or to change it.” He noted, “ Syrian attacks and Russian air strikes [are] prompting American fury at the U.N.”
On ABC’s Good Morning America, Alex Marquardt shifted the focus from Obama to Trump: “This is one of the biggest humanitarian crises in the world and one that the next American president will have to deal with on day one."
Later, Marquardt talked about U.S. action without mentioning the current president: “The Syrian regime and its allies are trying to root the last rebels out of Aleppo, a city divided for four years. Many of those rebels funded, armed and trained by the U.S. Losing Aleppo would be a huge blow to the rebel cause and American efforts in Syria.”
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A transcript of the CBS This Morning segment is below:
7:11:33 to 7:14:34
3 minutes and 1 seconds
NORAH O’DONNELL: Dan Senor is a senior adviser to Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan in the 2012 presidential campaign. Good morning.
DAN SENOR: Good morning.
O’DONNELL: So what are you hearing from Republicans in the Senate about Rex Tillerson?
SENOR: A lot of questions. So with other nominees, you will see statements being issued that basically say we are green lighting this. I mean, they actually have to go through the process but it's going to be the kind of know where they are going to wind up. This is one where enough Republicans, only takes three Republicans, assuming all Democrats vote against Tillerson's nomination, it only takes three Republicans to sink his nomination and they are raising serious questions. On the one hand, they say, “Look. He has got an impeccable resume. He ran one of the ten largest companies in the world, a company with half a trillion dollars in revenues in market cap, an organization whose staff is comparable in size, actually, to the sprawling State Department. He has got the support of key figures in the Republican foreign policy establishment, Baker, Gates, Rice, Hadley. The President should have his prerogative in picking his own advisers.” But there’s a question what he has done with Russia and Iran and other countries reflects just pure business interests or world view.
O’DONNELL: I mean, just think about today’s news. A four year civil war of Aleppo appears to be over. Assad has won in Aleppo. I mean, let’s talk about that.
CHARLIE ROSE: Is that about Rex Tillerson or is that Barack Obama and the administration that has been in power and has had an opportunity to do something?
SENOR: Well, if look at the trajectory of what happened in 2011, the assault on civilians began. President Obama did nothing. 2013, the red line was issued, President Obama didn't follow through with it. 2014 and 2015, Russia intervention, which took the human catastrophe down to a whole other level, I mean, and this was Russia complicity. We have — I think many Republicans believe over the years, you've had President George W. Bush, you've had President Barack Obama, you’ve had Secretary Clinton who all approached Putin with a bear hug and they don't want another president and Secretary of State to do the same thing.
ROSE: Well, I mean, do we expect Tillerson to bear hug or be able to talk tough to Vladimir Putin because you knows him, because he has some credibility with him?
SENOR: That is the key question. I spoke to one Republican senator over the weekend who said, “Look, when Tillerson goes around to do his meetings before his confirmation process. It really depends what he says in the meetings.” Does he say, “You guys, come on. I know how to deal with this guy. I'll make the U.S. does not get rolled. I was doing business deals with him. Now I’ve got the interest of the United States at heart and that will be my focus in dealing with Putin. I know how to deal with him.” They will give him a pass. If he says, “No, no, no. The things I've said about Putin and Russia reflect my world view, we need to back off. We need to reduce sanctions. We need to take pressure off Putin,” that will be a problem in the confirmation process.
ALEX WAGNER: Do you think this matters in Trump's position as far as the CIA is concerned in Russian hacks and make his confirmation rocky.
SENOR: Absolutely. The timing has not been great. One of his great attributes of being touted as he is a friend of Vladimir, Tillerson is. I'm not sure that is the headline you want given the headlines we are dealing with right now.