Romney slams Obama on Syria as U.S. expels diplomats
May 29th, 2012
02:26 PM ET
2 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."

Also see:

Romney likely to hit 'magic number' on Tuesday

Texas gears up for Lone Star primary

Romney doesn't back away from 'birther' Trump


Filed under: 2012 • Foreign Policy • Mitt Romney • Syria
soundoff (71 Responses)
  1. once upon a horse

    @ myviews
    so I guess if the president wants to act on Syria you would be more than happy to go over there then. He was really relaxed when he issued the hit on OBL and to intervene in Libya, correct?

    May 29, 2012 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  2. george of the jungle

    russia has been under pressure no thanks to mitt but im sure he will take credit. He is an idiot who has no concept of foreign policy. He can't stand up to trump so what would he do about syria? Adk Norquist or trump or the koch brothers? Obama 2012 Forward

    May 29, 2012 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  3. ST

    Romney is always jumping on something without giving a thought first. Remember what he said about the blind Chinese guy issue how it was first handled first. It turned out the President was taking the matter carefully, and everything turned to work out perfectly.

    May 29, 2012 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  4. dnick47

    Hey Mitt, you and your boys take-on a covert operation to take-out the Syerian President and military leaders... do that and I may believe you next time.

    May 29, 2012 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  5. Regis990

    @Myviewis Wow, you really have no clue.

    May 29, 2012 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  6. mcskadittle

    maybe the security council is ready to move on this monster in syria, a quick libya style victory could help Obama

    May 29, 2012 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  7. Another Mind

    Maybe after the election!

    May 29, 2012 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  8. Bootstomper

    Romney should worry about foreign policy in Utah.

    May 29, 2012 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  9. LBAM

    ROBmey oppose for oposition sake and he knows nothing. Let him become president, we will be fighting a war with Anyone who opposes his adminstration. Mitt Romney, What a DUFF.

    May 29, 2012 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  10. Governor 47th in Job Growth

    Uh huh. Just like Willard was quick to slam Libya....results not good for Willard. Just like Willard was quick to denounce the tactics of getting OBL....results not good for Willard. Just like Willard was quick to crticize the situation with Chen in China....results not good for Willard. We'll go ahead and chalk this one up as yet another instance where Willard is best served keeping his pie hole shut (like he does when his staff physically keeps the press corp away)......

    May 29, 2012 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  11. Sniffit

    "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."

    I'm pretty sure the GOP reads Orwell's works as though they are instruction manuals. Deputy Doublethink embodies this fact perfectly.

    May 29, 2012 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  12. Former Republican for President Obama

    Romney needs a history lesson about dictators slaughtering their own people. It is inhumane but has happened since the beginning of time. Good grief we can't fight the whole world with our poor and middle class Americans. If Romney wants to fight everyone let him send his sons. I have no respect for a draft dodger and will not vote for Romney. I lost friends and high school classmates during Vietnam, they had more courage in one finger than Romney has in his whole body. War is Hell but Romney has no idea the effect it has for years on those affected. Republican Motto: I willl send someone else's loved ones to die anywhere, anytime because they are expendable.

    May 29, 2012 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  13. Peace

    Hey Mitt, just put at least three of your sons on the front line and you will see whether Pres. Obama will hesitate to send some and fight in Syria. Those you want to go and fight in Syria are someone's kids and they love them the way you love your own sons.

    May 29, 2012 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  14. ANDREW

    A vote for Romney is a vote to go to War! Romney should go over to Syria if he really wants to solve whats going on over there!

    May 29, 2012 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  15. stranger in an increasingly strange land

    The typical Republican answer to having to defend their failed economic policies is to try and pick a fight with a country they think we can defeat easily. Reagan had Grenada. Bush the first went after Iraq, then left with the job half finished. Bush the second went after Iraq and Afganistan thinking he could get in, get a quick victory and get out with his dignity intact. After screwing up that for his term in office and nearly bankrupting the entire country in the process, he slunk off to Texas. Now we have Romney and Romney has a threat he thinks is even weaker than Iraq or Afganistan.

    I believe I have heard this song and dance before. Trick the public into thinking military action is needed, then trade a few soldiers for lots of votes from the far right. No Thanks Mr Romney.

    May 29, 2012 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  16. sonny chapman

    Amnesia: The deadly disease that makes Neo-Cons continually push for a "MUSCULAR FOREIGN POLICY". never their muscles or their Grand Children's muscles.

    May 29, 2012 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  17. Mike from Calgary

    Romney can't wait to start another costly deadly Phony War, just as fellow Republican George Bush started the deadly war in Iraq. Romney can't wait to squander American Dollars and Lives in a far away land.

    Guess Romney's memory not so good on Memorial Day or his plan to cut government spending.

    Romney/Bush want to borrow more money to help kill more and more young Americans in uniform in a far away land.
    Obama's focused targeted approach shows far more respect for the American ideals, the American taxpayer and for the American servicemen and women. At least Obama knows what it means to be entrusted by the American people as Commander in Chief.
    Romney wants a long term invasion and occupation of Syria. Obama favours a focused, targeted and collaborative approach that won't squander American dollars and lives. LEST WE FORGET. OBAMA DOES NOT FORGET!

    May 29, 2012 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  18. Anonymous

    If Mitt is elected he will send our young men and women to DIE in more wars FOR PROFIT. Just like CEO's Bush and Chaney did with the last two wars. CEOs do not make good U.S. Presidents, America is NOT a for profit organization.

    May 29, 2012 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  19. blave

    Go Mitt tell them like it is. Let obubu play nice and think long and hard about Iran it will soon be to late . How does a parking lot sound?

    May 29, 2012 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  20. dan

    well we gave weapons in the past and that didn't work out too well. I guess GOP's don't learn the finer points in life from the past.

    May 29, 2012 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  21. Woman In California

    It seems this SOB is always out of his leaque. The only subject he seems fit to speak on is breeding worthless sons. Otherwise, I think he should just continue building his mansions and counting his money. Presidential material – Willard is definitely not.

    May 29, 2012 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  22. Mr 1% the "VULTURE CAPITALIST BUSINESSMAN" will outsource all the poor, disabled, unemployed and elderly, to China and sell America to the highest bidder!

    Settle down Mittens, you are beginning to sound desperate and flailing about just to lash out at anything the President does.

    It is neither presidential and shows the maturity of a high school student, indeed, one that may chase down other students and give them a free haircut.

    Better to stick with the "birther" claim and just hammer away at a single issue.

    May 29, 2012 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  23. mack

    Mitt any time you are ready to pay a war tax and volunteer you sons to go fight in Syrian, I ready to hear what you think should be done. Otherwise shut up.

    May 29, 2012 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  24. Pander Bear

    Romney in March regarding Libya: The President is leading from behind.
    After Gadhaffi's ouster: The rebel's deserve the credit.

    You have no credibility (or much of a backbone) in foreign policy, Mitty.

    May 29, 2012 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  25. 1crusader

    This man isn't in any position to criticize the president about anything.The president has guts, and can make a principled decision.Romney can't, and I'm sure that the president will make the best decision on Syria-a very complex problem that could lead to a war involving Israel, Russia; and cause us to have to fund a ground war.

    May 29, 2012 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
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