WASHINGTON — As the world recoiled at the televised images of lifeless children in the latest atrocity in Syria's savage civil war on Tuesday, the White House issued a statement expressing outrage just as any White House presumably would.

But where other presidents might have used the moment to call for the departure of Syria’s authoritarian leader, Bashar al-Assad, President Trump’s spokesman dismissed the notion as impractical because it would not happen. “We would look like, to some degree, rather silly not acknowledging the political realities that exist in Syria,” said the spokesman, Sean Spicer.

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