What he's saying: “I would have rather taken him out. I had him all set. Mattis didn't want to do it,” Trump said on “Fox & Friends.” His comments confirm a detail reported in journalist Bob Woodward's 2018 book “Fear.”
“No, I don't regret that. I could have lived either way with that. I considered him, certainly not a good person. But I had a shot to take him out if I wanted and Mattis was against it. Mattis was against most of that stuff. He'd keep you in military but he didn't know how to win.”
Reality check: Trump's comments Tuesday contradicted his own statement to reporters in 2018, when Trump said an operation to kill Assad “was never even contemplated.”
Context: Trump wanted the assassination after it was believed the Syrian government used chemical weapons in an attack in Douma, Syria, according to Woodward's reporting.
The administration instead eventually conducted targeted airstrikes on Syria's chemical weapons sites.
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