Donald Trump and his administration have spent the past sixteen days desperately trying to cover up a deadly U.S. military operation in Niger, to the point that Trump was hesitant to even call the families of the four U.S soldiers who died. As questions continue to be asked and details continue to emerge, Trump’s Niger scandal looks more ghastly by the day. Now comes a detail that helps frame why Trump may be so desperate to cover it all up.
Buried all the way down in the fourteenth paragraph of a Los Angeles Times report, you’ll find this bombshell of a sentence: “For months before the ambush, the U.S. military had requested more drones or other surveillance aircraft in Niger and additional military medical support, but those requests met resistance from the U.S. ambassador to the country, who was reluctant to increase the American presence in the country, according to a U.S. official briefed on the attack.” (link). In other words, the Trump administration knew U.S. troops were in danger in Niger, and did nothing.
This comes after yesterday’s revelation that the nation of Chad had recently pulled its own support troops out of Niger, in protest of Donald Trump’s still-unexplained decision to add Chad to his Muslim ban in September. So not only did Trump’s bad policy leave U.S. troops in Niger vulnerable, he failed to heed the U.S. military’s request for additional support. This serves as a reminder that Trump has absolutely no idea what he’s doing, little interest in doing the job, and no desire to learn how to do it competently. But this is just the tip of the iceberg.
It’s now clear that Donald Trump’s incompetence and inaction directly or indirectly contributed to the deaths of the four U.S. soldiers in Niger. When you throw in Niger’s recently announced military partnership with Russia in the context of Trump’s Russia scandal, and Trump’s bizarre use of a private military contractor for the rescue mission instead of using the military itself, this scandal is just getting started.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report