President Donald Trump has long usurped the fight against ISIS for his own personal political ambitions. This weekend, both sides of that equation developed further, when U.S. forces took out ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and Trump and his cronies promptly tried to turn the occasion into a spectacle of touting how great Trump supposedly is. In an appearance on ABC’s This Week, Defense Secretary Mark Esper resorted to this exact kind of messaging. He claimed to host Martha Raddatz that a key point in this whole ordeal is the “credit” Trump supposedly should get for the basic task of signing off on the raid. What else was he going to do, say no?
‘I think all the praise goes to our service members and our intelligence professionals and others who took this on, and the message is — if you’re a leader in ISIS, if you’re a leader of a terrorist group, we are going to come after you and we will hunt you relentlessly… It was a brilliantly executed operation, and the president deserves credit for giving it the green light. These are always inherently risky, and as I like to say, our folks make the complex and the dangerous look simple.’
“It was a brilliantly executed operation,” Defense Sec. Mark Esper tells @MarthaRaddatz, “and the president deserves credit for giving it the green light.” https://t.co/GRPIcauFpK pic.twitter.com/p6UWzkoFm2
— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) October 27, 2019
Why exactly does the president “deserve credit” for giving the obviously necessary green light to go after a terrorist leader who the United States has been hunting for years? Again — what was he supposed to do? Has this administration really been reduced to such a mess that we’re left praising the president for not sending a basic responsibility associated with his job completely off the rails?
Esper — the administration’s second formally confirmed Defense Secretary — personally consulted with the president in conjunction to the raid, and an official photograph that the White House released shows the two sitting next to each other in the Situation Room. Suggesting the whole operation had politics embedded in it right from the start, top Democratic leaders in Congress weren’t even notified of the raid before it happened. Figures like the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee were simply left in the dark.
In his own Sunday press conference discussing the development, Trump resorted to his own wildly egomaniacal take on the situation. For instance, he insisted that taking out al-Baghdadi was a bigger feat than taking out al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden under Barack Obama’s watch, as if that’s demonstrably true or at all in any way relevant whatsoever.
Trump also lied that he had sounded a direct alarm about bin Laden before the 9/11 terror attacks ever happened.
As reporter Daniel Dale summarized:
‘Trump said today that a lot of things would have been different if anyone had listened to him in 2000 when he wrote that the US had to kill Osama bin Laden, a man nobody had ever heard of. Lots of people had heard of Osama bin Laden. Trump didn’t write that at all.’
Yet, this is the guy who we’re supposed to trust to lead behind the scenes when developments like this take place? Not likely!