Following Syria missile strike, Trump tweets two words that haunted Bush: 'Mission Accomplished!'

President Donald Trump declared "Mission Accomplished!" in Syria.

April 14, 2018, 5:54 PM

Using two words that ended up haunting George W. Bush during the Iraq War, President Donald Trump took to Twitter Saturday to declare "Mission Accomplished!" following airstrikes on chemical weapons targets in Syria.

Pentagon officials said the overnight missile strikes by the U.S., the U.K., and France on three key targets in Syria crippled the ability of dictator Bashar al-Assad's regime to use chemical weapons.

PHOTO: Pictured (L-R) are President Donald Trump on April 13, 2018 and President George W. Bush on May 2, 2003.
Pictured (L-R) President Donald Trump addresses the nation on the situation in Syria April 13, 2018 at the White House in Washington, D.C. | President George W. Bush declares the end of major combat in Iraq as he speaks aboard the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln off the California coast, May 2, 2003.
Getty Images | AP, FILE

"A perfectly executed strike last night. Thank you to France and the United Kingdom for their wisdom and the power of their fine Military. Could not have had a better result. Mission Accomplished!" Trump wrote on Twitter.

The triumphant statement was similar to one that hounded 43rd President of the United States, even though he didn't actually make it. On May 1, 2003, six weeks after the invasion of Iraq, Bush stood on the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln, under a huge banner reading "Mission Accomplished" and declared "major combat operations in Iraq have ended."

PHOTO: President George W. Bush addresses the nation aboard the nuclear aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln May 1, 2003, as it sails for Naval Air Station North Island, San Diego, Calif.
President George W. Bush addresses the nation aboard the nuclear aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln May 1, 2003, as it sails for Naval Air Station North Island, San Diego, Calif.
Stephen Jaffe/AFP/Getty Images, FILE

But the war in Iraq raged on for more than eight years after Bush made the statement.

Critics slammed Bush for the statement, saying it was a grave misjudgment. But the White House later said it had nothing to do with the "Mission Accomplished" banner and noted that the president never said those words in his speech on the deck of the Lincoln. The Bush administration said the banner was meant to signify the end of the Lincoln's 10-month mission in the Persian Gulf.

PHOTO: The U.S. Navy guided-missile cruiser USS Monterey fires a Tomahawk land attack missile in the overnight hours, April 14, 2018.
The U.S. Navy guided-missile cruiser USS Monterey fires a Tomahawk land attack missile in the overnight hours, April 14, 2018.
DOD

Ari Fleischer, Bush's White House press secretary, retweeted Trump's tweet Saturday, adding, "Um...I would have recommended ending this tweet with not those two words."

In a subsequent tweet, Fleischer noted that "Bush stated the danger was not over and that difficult missions lay ahead, particularly in the Sunni triangle" of Iraq.

PHOTO: The U.S. Navy guided-missile cruiser USS Monterey fires a Tomahawk land attack missile in the overnight hours, April 14, 2018.
The U.S. Navy guided-missile cruiser USS Monterey fires a Tomahawk land attack missile in the overnight hours, April 14, 2018.
DOD

Dana White, the chief Pentagon spokesperson, backed Trump's comment during a briefing on the overnight bombing raid of the Syrian targets.

"We met our objectives. We hit the sites, the heart of the chemical weapons program. So it was mission accomplished,” White said.

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