US President Donald Trump has denied he wanted to kill Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, a key claim in a new book by renowned Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward.
"That was never even contemplated," Trump told reporters in the Oval Office on Wednesday as he met with the emir of Kuwait.
According to the book Fear: Trump in the White House, by Woodward, Trump wanted the US military to go into Syria and assassinate al-Assad after the Syrian government reportedly carried out a chemical attack in April 2017.
"Let's f*g kill him! Let's go in. Let's kill the f***g lot of them," Trump said according to Woodward's book.
The attack, which was widely blamed on forces loyal to the Syrian government, was carried out on the town of Khan Sheikhoun, killing more than 80 people.
Secretary of Defense James Mattis said the Pentagon would "get right on it" after Trump made his request, according to Woodward, but after getting off the phone with Trump, Mattis made it clear to his staff that they were not going to follow through with Trump's plan.
"We're not going to do any of that. We're going to be much more measured," Mattis said according to Woodward's book.
Instead of targeting al-Assad personally, the Pentagon drew up plans for air attacks to take out Syrian military infrastructure.
Following those attacks on April 7, 2017, Trump praised the US military, saying the military personnel "represented the United States and the world so well"
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