Many of Donald Trump’s most prominent fans have abandoned him after his decision to launch air strikes on Syria.
In what was a quick and extreme U-turn from previous positions, Mr Trump ordered US missile launches at an air base in the country, in response to a chemical weapons attack. It represented a break from many of Mr Trump’s campaign positions, primarily a promise that he would focus on “America first” and oppose intervention elsewhere in the world.
That has led supporters to abandon the president, saying they would no longer support or vote for Mr Trump. Many accused him of conducting the same policies that would have been instituted by Hillary Clinton, while others suggested that he had lied or was having his decisions made by other parts of the US state.
“I guess Trump wasn’t ‘Putin’s puppet’ after all, he was just another deep state/Neo-Con puppet,” wrote Paul Joseph Watson, a British vlogger who works at Alex Jones’s Infowars website. “I’m officially OFF the Trump train.”
Mr Watson said that he would instead divert his attention to Marine Le Pen, the French far-right politician who he said “tried to warn Trump against this disaster”. He then sent another tweet directly to Mr Trump that read: “Americans didn’t vote for you to intensify Hillary’s disastrous foreign policy” and included a link to one of Ms Clinton’s speeches.
Cassandra Fairbanks, a prominent Trump supporter and online activist, also said that she might stop supporting Mr Trump. She said that she was “trying to remain hopeful”, but that “this is too far”.
“I am devastated,” she wrote. “This isn’t who we voted for.”
Many other less prominent Twitter users scolded Mr Trump for having opposed intervention in the past and now having committed to it. They suggested that Mr Trump was in fact in the service of what they see as the “deep state”, and wasn’t the anti-establishment figure that he portrayed himself as during the election.
Former Ukip leader Nigel Farage, who has been one of Mr Trump’s most prominent cheerleaders since his election, suggested that the decision to support intervention was a concern.
Mr Trump had suggested in old tweets that he thought attacking Syria would be a move a president would make when they were losing support. He said that Mr Obama was only considering launching similar attacks because his polling numbers were low – though his approval ratings were higher than Mr Trump's now historically low numbers.
Others pointed to old tweets from Mr Trump’s supporters, including Sean Hannity. He had criticised Obama for playing golf after suggesting air strikes on Syria – a criticism that is now being made of Mr Trump.
Mr Trump said that he decided to launch the air strikes after seeing horrifying videos and images from the aftermath of the chemical attack in Syria. At least 80 people were killed in that incident, including many children.
“Tonight I call on all civilised nations to join us in seeking to end this slaughter and bloodshed in Syria and also to end terrorism of all kinds and all types,” Mr Trump said in a press conference announcing the air strikes.
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