In a secure room at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida, President Donald Trump's top military advisers presented him with three options for punishing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for a poison gas attack that killed dozens of civilians.
It was Thursday afternoon, just hours before 59 U.S. cruise missiles would rain down on a Syrian military airfield in response to what Trump had called "a disgrace to humanity."
Trump was at his Florida estate for his first summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping. But that summit took a backseat to the top-secret briefing by U.S. National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, and Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, an official familiar with the briefing told Reuters.
McMaster and Mattis presented Trump with three options, which were quickly narrowed to two: bomb multiple airfields or just the Shayrat airfield near the city of Homs, where the military jet carrying the poison gas had taken off, the official said.