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Trump: ‘Assad choked out the lives of helpless men, women and children’

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PALM BEACH, Fla. -- President Donald Trump said the U.S. missile attack on a Syrian air base Thursday night was in the nation's "vital national security interest."

Trump says the United States must "prevent and deter the spread and use of deadly chemical weapons." He says there is "no dispute that Syria used banned chemical weapons."

Trump spoke to reporters after the United States attacked a Syrian air base with roughly 60 cruise missiles in response to a chemical weapons attack it blames on President Bashar Assad.

Trump is calling on "all civilized nations" to join the U.S. in seeking an end to the carnage in Syria.

Trump gave a brief statement Thursday shortly after the U.S. fired a barrage of cruise missiles into Syria in retaliation for this week's gruesome chemical weapons attack against civilians.

Trump says "peace and harmony will prevail" so long as the U.S. continues to stand for justice.

Here are the president's full remarks: 

"My fellow Americans, on Tuesday, Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad launched a horrible chemical weapons attack on innocent civilians.

Using a deadly nerve agent, Assad choked out the lives of helpless men, women and children. It was a slow and brutal death for so many. Even beautiful babies were cruelly murdered in this very barbaric attack. No child of god should ever suffer such horror.

Tonight I ordered a targeted military strike on the airfield in Syria from where the chemical attack was launched. It is in this vital national security of the United States to prevent and deter the spread and use of deadly chemical weapons.

There can be no dispute that Syria used banned chemical weapons, violated its obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention and ignored the urging of the UN Security Council. Years of previous attempts at changing Assad's behavior have all failed and failed very dramatically.

As a result, the refugee crisis continues to deepen and the region continues to destabilize, threatening the United States and its allies.

Tonight, I call on all civilized nations to join us in seeking to end the slaughter and bloodshed in Syria and also to end terrorism of all kinds and all types.

We ask for god's wisdom as we face the challenge of our very troubled world. We pray for the lives of the wounded and for the souls of those who have passed. And we hope that as long as America stands for justice, that peace and harmony will in the end prevail.

Goodnight and god bless America and the entire world. Thank you."