President Obama on Friday acknowledged he faces an uphill battle in pushing for air strikes in Syria but wouldn’t tip his hand on what course he would take if Congress rebuffs his call for action.
“It would be a mistake for me to jump the gun and speculate because right now I’m working to get as much support as possible out of Congress,” he said during a press conference at the G-20 summit in St. Petersburg, Russia.
Obama also revealed he held a surprise meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, who remained a chief opponent of U.S. military action. Obama and chief administration officials have been lobbying Congress to back military strike on Syria in retaliation for the Assad regime’s Aug. 21 gassing of more than 1,400 of its own people — including more than 400 children.
“My goal is to maintain the international norm on … chemical weapons,” Obama said.
“I want that enforcement to be real,” the president said. “Delivering chemical weapons against children is not something we do. We certainly don’t do it against kids. And we got to stand up for that principle.”
Obama plans to deliver a Tuesday night speech from the White House to continue to make his case for air strikes in Syria.