New details have emerged about President Donald Trump‘s actions following his authorization of the first intentional U.S. military strike on Syrian government targets.
Wilbur Ross, Trump’s secretary of commerce, told the crowd at Monday’s Milken Institute Global Conference in Los Angeles that the bombing was a substitute for “after-dinner entertainment” at the president’s Mar-a-Lago resort in West Palm Beach, Florida, on the evening of April 6. Trump was hosting Chinese President Xi Jinping at the time he authorized the military strike on a Syrian air base.
“Just as dessert was being served, the president explained to Mr. Xi he had something he wanted to tell him, which was the launching of 59 missiles into Syria,” Ross said, according to Variety. “It was in lieu of after-dinner entertainment.”
The crowd reportedly laughed.
Ross added, “The thing was, it didn’t cost the president anything to have that entertainment.”
While the “entertainment” did not cost Trump personally, it did result in the expenditure of 59 missiles that experts say cost approximately $1 million apiece. The bombing on Syria’s al-Shayrat Air Base appears to have had little long-term impact on the country’s ongoing conflict. Within a day of the attack, Syrian planes were reportedly once again taking off from the facility’s airstrips.
Trump said in an interview with Fox Business last month that he and President Xi were enjoying “the most beautiful piece of chocolate cake” when he told the Chinese leader of his decision to drop bombs on Syria.
Because Trump ran on an anti-interventionist platform, he received criticism from supporters for intervening in the Syrian civil war. Trump’s son Eric told reporters that his father decided to launch a strike on Syria’s government, which launched a deadly chemical weapons attack on its own people, after his daughter Ivanka expressed “outrage” over the horrific aftermath.