Trump condemns chemical attacks in Syria in joint news conference with King Abdullah II

ABC News' Amna Nawaz and deputy political director Shushannah Walshe break down Trump's latest remarks with chief White House correspondent Jon Karl and senior White House correspondent Cecilia Vega.
16:29 | 04/05/17

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Transcript for Trump condemns chemical attacks in Syria in joint news conference with King Abdullah II
Hey everybody I'm on an Abbas live in New York it back continuing coverage here some of the many headlines that came out of that press conference you just south president Donald Trump. And King Abdullah of Jordan and of course a lot of other headlines related to what was said there I'm joined here in New York. By my colleague she John Walsh our deputy political director here at ABC news thinks it in your chest I am. So let's start with one of the headlines actually didn't come from that press conference this story out in the New York Times right now Maggie Haberman and Clinton thrash. Sitting down for an interview with the president in the Oval Office today and he leveled an amazing accusation with absolutely no evidence against. A former Obama administration official put it we know what. Right so that this Susan Wright story that's in the news he was asked about it and he essentially says that he does believe a crime was committed. He offers are actually no evidence of course this comes a month after those who wire tapped tweets were a month ago he accused the former president. Of committing a crime with zero evidence and now he's accused boat a former. President and a former hybrid official in that president's administration committing crimes actually. No evidence at no proof. And it's important rightly point out here that in her role there's with the national security advisor she denied any impropriety in an interview. Yesterday. But of course and to make headlines for. Quite some time to come as people pressed for more details let's go back to the press conference now. We saw some classic Donald Trump they are breaking out some of the hits I inherited a mess. You know the Iran deal was one of the worst deals but when he came to the issues that came up with king of the let there Syria was also front and there namely. This horrific attack were all learning more about the chemical attack yesterday in one of the northern towns and it. Looks as if the president has shifted fiftieth brand he was asked two frankly if what happened in Syria at this chemical attack. Crosses a red line for him and he's said. I it. Yes that it crosses many bread lines for him. Wedding. Children and little babies using his word words are killed or murdered in this way. That it does cross Fred lives for seems like he's position. Has been dramatically impacted by that attack. We know also that the State Department issued a statement in response to the attack. They basically pointed the finger at Russia and Iran saying they both bore responsibility for some the atrocities being carried out. In Syria the initial White House statement though. The day at the attack it was brief it was four sentences it was delivered by the Press Secretary Sean Spicer to members of the press corps. Two of those four sentences punched back at the Obama administration. Is that surprising to you at this point is someone who watches how they message. No I didn't think it was surprising actually to blame the former administration. But today we heard the president yes lean President Obama. But also saying that it is now my responsibility. He said that several times in response to question. By the associated cracks. I think that it was startling how different the messaging was from the White House yesterday at the State Department. But. It isn't that different for administration said lane the prior administration. On problems are or practices that are rise especially the beginning administration. It that hurt it surprised me but it did surprise me today. How forcefully it seem that the president said this is now my responsibility and I'm going to take responsibility for for the crisis. Tennis and when he was watching father weren't a lot of deet tails cared about what exactly will happen but again president trump has made clear. During his campaign and since taking office that he will not articulate. Whatever plans he hats for tackling ice says four confronting. Dictators and other countries. And so we did not expect to hear those today and accordingly we did not go let's go to someone who was there. In the White House garden four this press conference. Our chief White House correspondent John Carl was there and and John according it's something the president actually said explicitly he said I'm actually very flexible person. When it comes to how I I view these issues we saw some about flexibility. And how he views Syria today. I. It was fascinating to see the president's position on a central. Issues seem to change before our eyes he said it his views on Syria and honest sod. Have undergone a change in the wake of this chemical weapons attack and watching the horror. Watching the attack on children he said watching this you could imagine anything worse. Odd that it has caused the change in his views you can specify exactly. What that change is what if you look at it just last week the secretary of state Rex Tillerson. Had suggested there'd been. A a dramatic departure from long standing US policy towards this odd policy under the Obama administration was that a sod must go was was former regime change. In Syria and Tillerson a last week said that it is. Up to the Syrian people to decide. Who is their leader and whether or not Assad leaves so underdog at the suggestion is that position is changed or is general view towards intervening. Before he became. A president before he became a presidential candidate. Trumpet actually said that Syria is not our problem serious not America's problem. A BC to see if if five he now believes that it is the responsibility of the United States to. Act to respond to this in fact he said is a general matter that Syria and and what to do about it now is his responsibility even as he. Put a lot of the blame for the current situation on on president balmy acknowledge going forward he is the president it is his responsibility. And you know it's confusing about this I think to a lot of folks certainly to me is that it's King Abdullah himself mentioned. The warned Syria has been going on for seven years now and and fortunately it this kind of attack on that looks as if it took place yesterday. In Conseco and it's not the first of its kind we've seen these kinds of scenes and pictures before. Someone thinking that any insight as to what changed. For the president that cost him to shift his views. Will. On the it it it's a great question and honestly there's no indication as to what specifically about this except for the fact it is immediate he's watching it play out. On on the television screens before him while he is in. The White House while he is president it is on his watch we are exactly right there was a chemical weapons attack and 2013. The Warren where the Red Line was famously crossed. Where some 1000. People died. A horror just like we've seen here in this latest attack except on an even. Greater scale we have seen hundreds of thousands of people. Killed in Syria the vast majority. In in conventional weapons attacks barrel bombs just just terrible. Assaults on humanity. Apartment buildings destroyed. From above. By it largely by the Syrian regime this has been the case for a long time you have they think it is the greatest humanitarian crisis of our lifetimes. It not only the hundreds of thousands who have been killed. But the millions just think about it millions of people. Who have been displaced from their homes and are now refugees spread through out. Throughout the region. Don't Karl thank you so much for your time there on the White House line that's our chief White House correspondent. For ABC news back here in New York where she Shawna walls another piece of news coming out of today the removal of key advisor to president trump Steve Bannon. From the National Security Council. A lot of eyebrows race when he was first named to the council out of questions about why he was there in the first place but what do we know about that she. Well. A senior administration official tells me that. ST ban was essentially removed because his job. Was it to babysit. That's their words. Michael Flynn and that that job is now over. But it's clear also that the new national security advisor Henry McMaster want HR McMaster should take. Wanted to control over personnel and that this was his decision to. Interest and hardship tap. Getting behind the scenes and in real time a lot of dynamic shifts there won't be the last one. Let's head back out to the White House now. Our senior White House correspondent so you they got was there for this press conference and joins us live there now. Cecilia we haven't talked yet about this relationship between king of the lot. And president trump this is the second time they at the first time at the White House. But it looks to be emerging to be a pretty strong partnership in some crucial policy areas where this penetration. I'm I was really fascinated by some of the language that was used here today and perhaps even more important than that some of the body language it seems like there is an actual friendship that's developing here yes this is the second time these two. Leaders have met and I don't if you could tell from your vantage when the cameras. Both wives the First Lady and acting on him jordin was here all were both here also together today. The president had made some pre strong. Shows of support for this country this ally saying that Jordan is a key. Partner in the fight against thesis and against and his words Islamic extremism and radical Islamic terrorism. A that was before the first time they met a couple of months ago and I believe. King Abdullah's the very first leader from a Muslim country. That president trotman after taking office and and you could see each year to date that that they will be strong partners going forward once things. That struck meat was king Abdullah's call and and and answer of confidence in the president to get things done when it comes to. Peace in the Middle East and specifically what's happening in Syria he said that he looks to. President trumps leadership and has confidence in him. To be successful in that region it didn't I had I had an opportunity to ask the question I think I would have put some specifics of that. The king of Jordan to ask what exactly did he and does he plan to lean on presidents from four in that role we don't really have an indication yet of of what he would like to see. President trump do differently that in the past administration as White House. This silly he actually mentioned the word hope. Which I think if some if the price a lot of people when he talked about. Potential progress when it comes to the mideast peace process also in dealing with ice it I mean their number at different issues on which these two leaders could be working together. And it sounds like they're heading down a similar track. And and exactly and perhaps one of the most important of them is is Israeli. Palestinian peace negotiations there was summit. That King Abdullah hosted just a couple of weeks ago as he's coming here fresh off of that and and as you know president trump has. Sort of wavered a little bit when it comes to whether he believes there should be a two state solution. Might we don't know we assume that that is one of the things that they talked about behind closed doors after they leave here today on the they are going to working lunch where we assume that many of these conversations well will come up and and it sounds like. One of the words that the key used here was that they had frank conversations. I don't think these are two men who go behind closed doors and mince any words together. Our rights easily if they get thank you so much for your time live for us there at the White House. Back here in New York which is on a Washington happy you know we mentioned also earlier in that network reports president Trump's repeated. Support. Ford Bill O'Reilly over at Fox News also sort of unsurprisingly it's been someone he's praised Ford despite the attacks that that mr. Reilly is come under. The many lawsuits that it looks as if he's now. Settled for sexual harassment claims brought against him so many ways for all the flexibility mr. trump has displayed this is that this is an area consistency for him. Definitely he said that it in this interview that your time that he didn't think that his friend Bill O'Reilly should have settled with these women. It's very similar to what he said when Roger Ailes the former head of Fox News. Was going through similar sexual harassment allegations he said that he didn't think that he should have settled I doubt. Said so this is similar language but it is interesting that's coming from him he's sitting in the White House start to keep whiplash on topics at the. Well yeah we have covered a lot and there's another big headline we're talking about. Health care which is a big issue there's a new poll out today right which it was that. It the American that shifted the way that they see the Affordable Care Act and wondering you can Phillips and that and then tell us how you think. I could change how Republicans handled. Well it's clear that there are aspects of the Affordable Care Act of obamacare. Are very popular with Americans. Keeping preexisting conditions. This is safe for Americans and also. And there are younger Americans to stay on their parents insurance until 26. Those provisions remain popular but very hard line conservative they want repeal all of obamacare. And get rid of a lot of these. These two aspects as well as is essential help out benefits him talking about which are in include maternity care and drug abuse care. Things like that so it's only scenes. Republicans are stuck because they want. By the administration and knees to please be partly conservatives that's who you are the ones who brought it out last time. But by repealing. Are getting read some of these popular provisions. That's going to need the moderates moderate Republicans they need as well so it remains the scene where they go from here. And it's not just those specific parts of that the act we've got new numbers from Gallup poll that show that congress for approval of the port a character actually shift. From right before the election. I'm it was around but he's hot go back to my car now to make sure I get this straight it's 65% approval today that's up from 42%. Right after the election so. I don't know I've made it the longer time goes on her and as things change people and I think. Fear of possibly losing their health insurance or changing dramatically. Does put fear and Americans. That. That it could change but with those kinds of number immediate numbers don't matter and look to get your take on it. I'm wondering how Republicans who are still very publicly committed to repealing and replacing. Something that now the majority of Americans say they're okay it. And I think that than it does these numbers team are a meat on to every person in congress. Especially Republicans that are say it's safe district. But I don't think that really anyone wants to vote for or or approved. And legislation that Americans don't that doesn't make cents. So I think that these numbers are being watched I think they're important that I think we'll all be watching to see if there's that numbered takes up more. I'm curious your take on how some of the sister playing out publicly because we've seen now. Yet how freedom caucus first it were the ones is sort of holed up. The vote in the first place. And now president has gone public pleas to say that look although work with the Democrats if you guys can't come to some kind of deal. Do we know anything about what's happening behind closed doors at this moment it's vice president patents. Met with house Republicans again last. And it wasn't mix of these conservatives and he's Mars but it wasn't Democrat and I think that. That if the president said that he wants to work with Democrats on this issue. But it. Democrats for that there's no way that any sort repeal of obamacare their for a look at. What would be any sort of legislation that they would support at all. And said that is another element where. It's really a hurdle very hard to jump over. See how they handle that still very much a story we are tracking here. Hey asked on a lot thanks for thanks and now thanks to all of you for watching as well remember you can always go to abcnews.com for war. On all of those stories health it health care debate. The chemical attack in Syria the latest from the king Abdullah's visit here in the US. And many many more thanks for joining at the right here for your latest live streams I'm on the.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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