It was another event filled week for the reality show presidency, a spectacle we like to refer to as Keeping Up With The Trumps. Neil Gorsuch was confirmed by the Senate to become the 113th justice of the Supreme Court. Ivanka Tump's kids, Arabella and Joseph sang songs to honor China's President Xi Jinping during his visit to Mar-a-Lago estate.
But President Donald Trump, the consummate showman, knows the biggest spectacle of all is war. Here's a recap of what happened in this week's 'episode.'
Keeping Up With The Trumps, S1, Ep11
On Thursday, President Trump launched 59 Tomahawk missiles at a Syrian airbase in retaliation for the horrific April 4 chemical attack in Syria. Trump accused President Bashar-al-Assad of using chemical weapons to kill 86 civilians in the city of Khan Sheikhoun.
Trump spoke to the media on Thursday from Mar-a-Lago in Florida, saying “Assad choked out the lives of helpless men, women, and children. It was a slow and brutal death for so many. Even beautiful babies were cruelly murdered in this very barbaric attack.”
Trump’s missile attack was supported by many in the international community including the UK, Australia, Japan, Israel and Saudi Arabia, while others, such as China and Russia, condemned it.
Response from network and cable news was overwhelmingly positive, applauding Trump’s decision as being “presidential.”
CNN’s Fareed Zakaria said “I think Donald Trump became President of the United States" last night. MSNBC’s Brian Williams, quoting Leonard Cohen, said “I’m guided by the beauty of our weapons,” adding “they are beautiful pictures of fearsome armaments.”
Brian Williams waxing lyrical about the beauty of weapons—what in the world is this? pic.twitter.com/3hoxCgCfP1— Taniel (@Taniel) April 7, 2017
Even Washington Post columnist David Ingatius told MSNBC on Friday, "In terms of the credibility of American power, I think most traditional Washington commentators would say he’s put more umph, more credibility back into it."
It appeared that, with a single stroke, Tump managed to legitimize his embattled presidency and dispel rumors of Russian meddling in the White House. Remarkable.
Some critics, however, questioned the legality of Trump's decision to attack Syria.
U.S Rep Mark Pocan, in a statement, declared that "There is no legal basis for last night’s missile strike against Syrian military assets," adding, "Congress must be called back immediately, if President Trump plans to escalate our military involvement.”
Congress must be called back immediately and vote on a new AUMF, if President Trump plans to escalate our military involvement. pic.twitter.com/z0NxISTMz0— Rep. Mark Pocan (@repmarkpocan) April 7, 2017
The American Civil Liberties Union issued a statement strongly critical of the attack, saying it “violates some of the most important legal constraints on the use of force.”
The ACLU claims the attack violates U.S. constitutional law, which bars hostile use of force without congressional authorization, as well as international law, which forbids “unilateral use of force except in self-defense.”
In addition, the ACLU decries Trump’s invoking of dead Syrian men, women, children and “beautiful babies” as hypocritical and “galling,” in light of Trump’s own Muslim travel ban which would exclude those very same people from obtaining safe refuge in the U.S.
Trump's missile attack also sparked a revolt from his alt-right base - people who voted him into office based on his anti-interventionist "America First" campaign platform.
Ann Coulter, author of the book "In Trump We Trust," shared a tweet from 2012 in which Trump, who's current approval rating is at 35 percent, warns that Obama may use airstrikes to boost his approval ratings.
Now that Obama’s poll numbers are in tailspin – watch for him to launch a strike in Libya or Iran. He is desperate.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 9, 2012
Republican Senator Rand Paul, who is a golfing buddy of Donald Trump, also shared an old tweet of Trump criticizing Obama's use of military power . Paul told FOX Business "I think it's unconstitutional" to launch air strikes without congressional approval.
The President must get Congressional approval before attacking Syria-big mistake if he does not!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 30, 2013
There is division inside the White House as well. The Daily Beast reported on Thursday that the White House chief strategist Steve Bannon called Trump's son-in-law and senior advisor Jared Kushner a “cuck” and a “globalist." A "cuckservative" is a right-wing slur denoting a "cuckold" and a "conservative."
An anonymous source told the Daily Beast that fighting between the two has been "nonstop" and that Bannon accused Kushner of trying to “shiv him and push him out the door.”
Bannon, who authored both attempts Trump's failed "Muslim ban," was removed from the National Security Council Principals Committee on Wednesday. On Friday, Trump advised the two men to meet and work out their differences. According to White House officials, the meeting ended amicably.