Romney slams Obama on Syria as U.S. expels diplomats
May 29th, 2012
02:26 PM ET
3 years ago

Romney slams Obama on Syria as U.S. expels diplomats

(CNN) – Mitt Romney, the presumptive GOP presidential nominee, said Tuesday he welcomed the decision to expel Syrian diplomats from the United States, but that President Barack Obama was weak in his handling of the troubled nation.

"I welcome the expulsion of Syrian diplomats by the United States and other partner nations," Romney wrote in a statement. "But it only underscores the need for more assertive measures to end the Assad regime. President Obama's lack of leadership has resulted in a policy of paralysis that has watched Assad slaughter 10,000 individuals."

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On Tuesday the United States, along with seven other countries, announced they were expelling Syrian diplomats after a massacre over the weekend in Houla. Australia, Great Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Canada joined the U.S. in the coordinated move.

The U.S. State Department decided to expel the Syrian charge d'affaires, two State Department officials told CNN. Zouheir Jabbour was called to the department Tuesday morning and was told that he and his family have 72 hours to leave.

He has been the top Syrian envoy in the United States since the ambassador, Imad Moustapha, was called back to Syria in October in a response move after the United States said it was pulling its ambassador out of Syria.

Romney has said in the past that Obama, along with his national security team, are weak in dealing with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. In his statement Tuesday, Romney said the U.S. should put pressure on Russia to stop dealing weapons to the Syrian government.

"We should increase pressure on Russia to cease selling arms to the Syrian government and to end its obstruction at the United Nations," Romney wrote. "And we should work with partners to arm the opposition so they can defend themselves."

In the White House briefing Tuesday, press secretary Jay Carney said arming the Syrian opposition could lead to more trouble.

"The concern is that further militarization of the situation in Syria could lead to greater chaos, could make it harder to achieve the political transition that the Syrian people deserve," Carney said. "The nature and shape of and membership of the opposition is still something that we and our partners are assessing and that is another consideration that has to be acknowledged when efforts like that are undertaken."

Romney said over the weekend that the United States needed to take on a bigger role in Syria, writing the killings in Houla signaled it was time for intervention.

"The Assad regime's massacre of civilians in Haoula-many of them young children-is horrific," Romney wrote in a statement Sunday. "After nearly a year and a half of slaughter, it is far past time for the United States to begin to lead and put an end to the Assad regime."

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Filed under: 2012 • Foreign Policy • Mitt Romney • Syria
soundoff (71 Responses)
  1. cali girl

    This guy has no clue what he is talking about. Hmmm, let's see, just do the opposite of what President Obama does and that is the right answer!
    I can not imagine this tool with his hand hovering over the "big red button"

    May 29, 2012 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  2. Andrew

    Obama is NOT responsible for Syria. There is an Arab League and European Countries that can assist with them. Mitt is just going to say whatever Obama does or doesn't do is wrong....

    May 29, 2012 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  3. Bill

    Where was Mittens when we were taking care of buisness in Libya? If I recall he made similar statments then. No one is listening to him. Romney is a complete bufoon and I would not trust him in the foreign policy arena for a second.

    May 29, 2012 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  4. DR

    Yes Mitt, let's bomb them into the stone age. The republicans are thirty years in the past. Mitt is whom ever you want him to be at the moment. Just wait until they pull back the curtain on the blood atonement in his secret Mormon rituals.

    May 29, 2012 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  5. Jules

    What the heck does Romney know about this? Does he ever stop to think that some sensitive things may be going on with our allies on Syria and maybe he should just keep his mouth shut about something so horrible? I think Romney wants to be president so badly that he will do anything, band with Donald Trump (really dumb decision as now he owns Trump and Trump will act like he owns him), make deals that will come back to haunt him and even put this country's negotiations with allies on trouble spots around the world in doubt as to what might happen should he become president. Romne sounds a lot like George W. and Chaney when it comes to foreign policy and we all know where that got us.

    May 29, 2012 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  6. dc

    Either Obama has lied about his citizenship for college grants, or as President. He can't have it both ways.........

    May 29, 2012 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  7. Bill

    And another thing Mittens, all you do is complain and rail against everything this president has done or is doing. You are no leader, you a political hack that has no business running for president. Sadly for you, you will have to spend tens of millions of dollars only to lose in the general.

    May 29, 2012 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  8. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Mittens should not be allowed to speak on any foreign policy issue until he has some clue as to what is going on. He is caught in 1984, and is completely out of touch with reality.

    May 29, 2012 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  9. conniesz

    Thank God Obama doesn't think like Mittens. The absolute LAST thing we need is to get involved militarily in Syria. We would NOT be welcomed by the insurgents – they hate us as much (or more) than they hate the Assad government. We're in big trouble if the Mormon war monger ever gets close to becoming president. Get out the Vote to stop the insanity.

    May 29, 2012 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  10. Monet

    Does he even understand his own statement? I guess not. And he wants to be the president of the free world. Only fools wiil vote for him.

    May 29, 2012 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  11. The REAL Truth...

    Why is it that the OPPOSITE of anything the POTUS does is what Mitten's now stands for?? Birther support with Trump(et)? Coal in Colorado and now this... ??? This man will do and say anything to get elected. Watch out America... you need to do your research on these GOP teatards.. they DO NOT have your best interests at heart and want to regain control so they can continue to rip us off like they have been for the last 40 yrs!

    May 29, 2012 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  12. Myviewis

    I think Obama likes it easy and relaxing and getting into Syria would take him away from hanging out with Clooney, etc...

    May 29, 2012 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  13. Bristol

    Based on Mitt, the USA should be the world's policeman. Is that really what we want?

    Maybe if Mitt's sons were in the military, he'd be a little more particular on which conflicts the US should enter. If his sons had to be the first to go, he'd probably become the world's greatest peacemaker.

    But, if his sons had to be the first to go to war, they'd all be back on the polygamous compound in the motherland of Mexico.

    May 29, 2012 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  14. maf

    War is always good for the economy. It's been like that for generations. War never used to be this expensive.
    When the GOP foreign policy strategy is simply to start a war . . . any war, regardless of the country or situation is simply a way they believe will strengthen the economy. What has happened though is that a few companies have been the unaccountable financial recipients of this strategy and have nothing but money to throw after Republican candidates as they are the only ones who will still play their game! War is NOT an economic strategy!!!!
    Every time I read an article about Mitt, it takes on a more dangerous tone. I wish I knew what the real Mr. Romney stood for. He didn't seem to have a base point to start from and now is just spraying and praying that something will resonate with the voters. At this point, I don't think much is!

    May 29, 2012 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  15. Deb in MT

    Listening to the news today–NOT on FOX: I like to be informed, not brainwashed–it sounds like Russia is getting sick & tired of Assad and his murderous regime. I trust President Obama to handle this intelligently. Romney, OTOH, is just itching to put boots on the ground over there, like all the other chicken hawks in the GOP. Maybe he could persuade one of his 5 healthy, strong, adult sons to put on a pair of those boots.

    May 29, 2012 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  16. some guy in New Hampshire

    And Romney would do what? Start another war? Threaten military action, which probably would send gas prices up another $1 a gallon in the futures market? I know he has to criticize everything Obama does - that's his job. But when he tries to claim that every single thing Obama does is exactly the wrong, Romney destroys his own credibility.

    May 29, 2012 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  17. ITGUY

    He is an empty suit. Period. Iv'e voted republican before but I can't vote for this guy. he will say anything and he's ignorant to the issues. We don't have the Arab league or any outside support, so what would he do that's any different? We are tired of BS wars and If he's President I want to see HIS son on the frontline as they go into Syria. He'd better have a good reason for War.

    May 29, 2012 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  18. TSK

    Romney is a amature at best

    May 29, 2012 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  19. Save the Rich, Vote GOP

    WAR WAR WAR, I'm Mitt and I stand for this message.

    May 29, 2012 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  20. Sniffit

    Trigger-happy know-nothing foolishness that would have us spending billions on interventionist policies that ruin our realtions with other countries and would have us begging states like Saudi Arabia and Turkey to arm civilians like we did in Afghanistan under Reagan. Intervention and interference with other countries' and peoples' sovereignty and self-governance is not always the answer, but it's the GOP/Teatroll go-to when they want to pretend they actually have a set of balls and are not just petty little frat boys who like to start wars to spend all our money on the military industrial complex.

    May 29, 2012 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  21. mcskadittle

    yes lets have less diplomacy, then the only option will be some sort of conflict. That will not happen before the election

    May 29, 2012 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  22. Regis990

    This from the man who said he wouldn't go into Pakistan to get Bin Laden. Thanks, but no thanks, Mittens.

    May 29, 2012 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  23. once upon a horse

    What happened in Syria is very bad, BUT don't we have enough problems to deal with of our own? If Mitt were president I could see us invading Iran AND Syria. No matter what the president would have done Mitt and the GOP would say it was wrong. What is wrong is that the US can NOT keep playing police for all these nations that can not police themselves. I can see why Mitt complained about possible defense cuts....a President Romney will have our troops stretched out all over the globe.

    May 29, 2012 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  24. mctampa

    here we go again, the republicans answer to everything is war and they expect the middle class to do without to pay for it because we can't raise taxes on the rich. People if you vote for this man get ready to send your sons and daughters to syria, iran and any other country that gives these war hawks the opporutnity..

    May 29, 2012 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  25. Maxx

    Says the spineless one whose foreign policy experience is going to France with his butler to evade the Viet Nam war and having bank accoubts in foreign countries. Chicken-hawk.

    May 29, 2012 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
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