President Trump on Monday said he would decide how to respond to a suspected chemical attack in Syria within 48 hours, reports the Hill. Trump had previously condemned the "animal Assad" by tweet over the civilian deaths, but he addressed the matter in person Monday with reporters. “It was atrocious. It was horrible,” said the president. “This is about humanity and it can’t be allowed to happen.” Trump said he'd be meeting with his national security team—including new national security adviser John Bolton, who starts Monday—to figure out the next steps. “If it’s the Russians, if it’s Syria, if it’s Iran, if it’s all of them together, we’ll figure it out,” he said.
Earlier Monday, defense chief Jim Mattis also called out Russia, reports USA Today. “The first thing we have to look at is why are chemical weapons still being used at all when Russia was the framework guarantor of removing all the chemical weapons,” he said. “And so, working with our allies and our partners from NATO to Qatar and elsewhere, we are going to address this issue.” The White House has asked the UN Security Council to launch an independent inquiry into the attack. (The US military hit a Syrian air force base last year, and one big question is whether Trump will be more aggressive this time.)