U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley credited President Trump for preventing a chemical weapons attack in Syria after the White House issued a statement Monday warning Syrian President Bashar Assad.
"I can tell you that due to the president's actions, we did not see an incident," Haley told the House Foreign Affairs Committee during a hearing Tuesday. "What we did see before was all of the same activity that we had seen prior, for the April 4 chemical weapons attack, and so I think that by the president calling out Assad, I think by us continuing to remind Iran and Russia that while they choose to back Assad, that this was something we were not going to put up with."
"I would like to think that the president saved many innocent men, women and children," Haley continued.
The White House issued a statement Monday night identifying "potential preparations" for another chemical weapons attack in Syria. The preparations identified were similar to those the Assad regime made before the April 4 attack.
White House press secretary Sean Spicer said that though the U.S. is in Syria to "eliminate" ISIS, the Trump administration wouldn't hesitate to act against Assad if another chemical attack occurred.
"If, however, Mr. Assad conducts another mass murder attack using chemical weapons, he and his military will pay a heavy price," Spicer said in the statement.
Defense Secretary James Mattis echoed Haley's statements Wednesday and said the White House's warning averted the chemical weapons attack in Syria.
"It appears that they took the warning seriously," Mattis told reporters traveling with him for a meeting of NATO defense ministers. "They didn't do it."