Here's the key exchange that took place during an interview of Trump by New York Times reporters:
HABERMAN: Did you see the images out of Syria? What do you think watching that as a president —Why exactly is Trump stretching to link Russia to this?
TRUMP: I think it’s a disgrace. I think it’s an affront to humanity. Inconceivable that somebody could do that. Those kids were so beautiful. To look at those scenes of those beautiful children being carried out.
HABERMAN: Where were you when you found out about it?
TRUMP: I was here. I saw it on television, I saw it on —
THRUSH: What do you think it says about the role of Russia in Syria?
TRUMP: Well, I think it’s a very sad day for Russia because they’re aligned, and in this case, all information points to Syria that they did this...
THRUSH: What about Russia’s role in all this in abetting the —
TRUMP: Well, I think it’s very disappointing. I think it’s very disappointing. Now this was done by — the information is, this was done by Syria purely. But anybody aligned with Syria — this is very disappointing.
Perhaps Jennifer Rubin has it correct:
I think it's not a coincidence that Bannon get bounced from NSC on day Trump does 180 on Syria. #McMaster— Jennifer Rubin (@JRubinBlogger) April 5, 2017
My view has always been that Trump would eventually go negative on Russia. I wrote in November 2016:
Libertarians who are hanging their hat on the idea that the Trump-Putin bromance is justification enough for supporting Donald Trump's presidency are likely to be sadly disappointed in the long run.Libertarian Trump fanboys just never understood that Trump had surrounded himself with anti-Russia advisers, including Michael Flynn, Trump's first National Security Adviser. But there seemed to be strategic reasons in the short-term from Flynn's perspective to leave Russia alone. With McMaster now the National Security Adviser, it appears that the short reprieve against open hostility toward Russia from the White House is over.
Putin is playing this, as he should from a Russian perspective, as the hot chick willing to whisper soft nothings into Trump's ear while the getting is good. It's possible Putin may even be able to get Trump to lift sanctions against Russia.
But a look at the geostrategic map suggests that this bromance will eventually end up like Trump's first two marriages--on the rocks.