A post on Twitter by President Donald Trump on Wednesday daring Russia to try to shoot down a prospective U.S. missile strike on Syria rattled people on social media, prompting a wave of nervous – and sometimes humorous – chatter about World War III.
Earlier this week, Trump said his administration had started planning a response to a suspected chemical attack Saturday by Syrian forces that killed more than 45 people in the rebel-held town of Douma, near Damascus, according to The Washington Post. Syria and Russia, a chief backer of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, have denied any attack took place.
On Wednesday, Trump posted a tweet reading: “Russia vows to shoot down any and all missiles fired at Syria. Get ready Russia, because they will be coming, nice and new and ‘smart!’ You shouldn’t be partners with a Gas Killing Animal who kills his people and enjoys it!”
He later followed up with a post that read, “Our relationship with Russia is worse now than it has ever been, and that includes the Cold War,” and one blaming the “bad blood” on an investigation of possible Russian interference in the 2016 elections.
The president’s posts cast a Cold War-era chill to some online posters, many of whom mentioned the prospect of a third world war between the U.S. and Russia – some jokingly, some not.
Others pointed out the absurdity of potentially sparking a global conflagration on social media.
It’s not the first time Trump and World War III have come up on Twitter.