Nigel Farage has broken with his unwavering support for Donald Trump and attacked the US President for launching air strikes in Syria.
The former Ukip leader, who gives unofficial counsel, spoke at rallies, and was a dinner guest of Trump, today criticised the retaliation taken against a chemical attack that killed at least 70 Syrian civilians.
So far, 59 cruise missiles have been targeted at an airbase in the troubled country, but the action is unlikely to stop there. US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said last night there was “no doubt” Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was behind the original attack on his own people.
When asked if he supported efforts to remove Assad from power, Tillerson said: “Those steps are underway”.
Farage was quick to depart from his usual praise for Trump today, saying many people who voted for the US President “will be worried about this military intervention”.
“Where will it end?” he asked.
His successor as Ukip leader Paul Nuttall quickly followed suit and blasted Trump for the “rash, trigger happy” move.
Nuttall said: “The whole world rightly condemns the use of chemical weapons in Syria but the US attack on the Assad regime does nothing to lower tensions, nor will it hasten peace in that country.
“Too often rash responses to horrific situations are about the conscience of the attacker, rather than a clear-headed response to an awful situation.
There are currently no good options in Syria." Paul Nuttall
”Assad or Isis is not a choice anyone would wish to make. But firing off missiles in an enraged response shows weakness not strength in the face of horror.
“I hoped for better from this administration.”
Fargae and Ukip’s departure from supporting Trump would likely leave Downing Street “very happy”, The Times’ Sam Coates speculated afterwards.
Other far-right and alt-right Trump supporters are also rapidly turning against him in response to the airstrikes.
Paul Joseph Watson, provocateur-in-chief at conspiracy site Infowars, Richard Spencer, co-editor of altright.com, and Hunter Wallace, founder of occidentaldissent.com, have all been scathing in their criticism. Spencer even wrote: “If Trump takes us into war in Syria, I’m done with him.”
The strikes have already rocked diplomatic relations between the US and Russia.
Moscow said the intervention had struck “a significant blow” to relations between their two countries - “which were already in a sorry state”.
It labelled the strikes “an aggression against a sovereign state in violation of international law”, but the US caused confusion with conflicting messages over whether Russia had been informed in advance about the attack.
Moscow has supported Syria both politically and militarily for years and launched an air campaign to support Assad in September 2015.
“Assad choked out the lives of helpless men, women and children,” Trump said on Thursday at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida. “Even beautiful babies were cruelly murdered at this very barbaric attack. No child of God should ever suffer such horror.”
Trump said the attack was in the “national security interest of the United States to prevent and deter the spread and use of deadly chemical weapons.”
He called on “civilised nations” to join in seeking to “end the slaughter and bloodshed” in Syria.
Downing Street has thrown its weight behind the US, and called the strike an “appropriate response”.
A spokesperson said: “The UK Government fully supports the US action, which we believe was an appropriate response to the barbaric chemical weapons attack launched by the Syrian regime, and is intended to deter further attacks.”