Jared Kushner, senior adviser
Trump’s increasingly influential son-in-law is said to favour intervention in the Middle East and could be seen in the newly built situation room at Mar-a-Lago. Kushner visited Iraq last week and has taken on the job of fixing the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. On Friday some critics in the Trump base adopted the online hashtag #FireKushner.
HR McMaster, national security adviser
The army lieutenant-general, a strategist respected by Republican hawks, was pivotal in the decision to launch the cruise missile strike and lauded for a professional approach. He gave reporters a detailed account of how Trump was presented with options and arrived at the final choice. But having served in Iraq, he is cautious about being drawn into another quagmire.
Jim Mattis, defence secretary
Nicknamed “Mad Dog”, though he has disavowed the label, the former Marine Corps general has criticised the Barack Obama administration for surrendering US leadership in the world and expressed strong support for Nato. He described the deadly chemical attack in northern Syria as a “heinous act and would be treated as such”.
Senator Ted Cruz told Fox News on Friday: “Secretary Mattis is a legendary war fighter.”
Rex Tillerson, secretary of state
He has been mostly silent in his first two months in office but suddenly emerged from his shell with harsh words for Russia. Recalling the 2013 agreement with Syria to hand over its chemical stockpile, which Moscow was supposed to monitor, he said: “Clearly, Russia has failed in its responsibility on that commitment. Either Russia has been complicit or has been incompetent on its ability to deliver.”
Steve Bannon, chief strategist
Keeper of the flame for the isolationist “America first” doctrine, a backlash against the neocons’ invasion of Iraq and other US attempts to meddle in world affairs. A month ago the ex-head of Breitbart News was rumoured to be the second most powerful man in the world. But last week Bannon, left, was removed from the National Security Council at McMaster’s behest.
Mike Cernovich, blogger
A peddler of conspiracy theories said to be influential with the administration, he describes himself as “new right”. Last week Trump’s son, Donald Jr, tweeted: “In a long gone time of unbiased journalism he’d win the Pulitzer.” But Cernovich has promoted the hashtag #SyriaHoax and said: “This is appalling really. This is unbelievable. This is not what we voted for. This is definitely not what we voted for.”
Ann Coulter, author and broadcaster
The author of In Trump We Trust and tireless media champion of the president expressed bitter disappointment to her 1.46m Twitter followers. She posted: “Trump campaigned on not getting involved in Mideast. Said it always helps our enemies & creates more refugees. Then he saw a picture on TV.”
Rand Paul, senator for Kentucky
The libertarian senator played golf with Trump last weekend and appeared to be forming an unlikely alliance over allegations of surveillance by the Obama administration.
But he told CNN on Saturday: “He really, clearly ran on the Iraq war was a mistake, regime change hasn’t worked, and that involving ourselves in civil wars throughout the world is really not the job of America’s foreign policy.
“Some will say maybe this is an exception to the rule, and I hope frankly that this is an exception, that he won’t believe that we can actually solve the Syria war militarily.”
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