When he began his limited bombing run in Syria last night, Donald Trump had a chance to, at least briefly, take control of the narrative about his dying presidency. The mainstream media is always hesitant to report anything negative about a president during a time of military action. Moreover, Trump was bombing a monstrous genocidist, and he even used an international coalition. Then he woke up this morning and blew it with two words.
If you have enough brain cells to rub together, you understand that regardless of whether bombing Syria was a good or bad military move, it was also a blatant attempt on Trump’s part at distracting everyone from his worsening criminal scandals. But it’s difficult to get away with saying that right now, for the same reason it was difficult to get away with accurately criticizing George W. Bush during the early days of the Iraq War: the American middle just doesn’t want to hear it during military action.
Historians differ on the precise breaking point at which it was safe to criticize George W. Bush during the Iraq War, but most will point to the moment at which he falsely insinuated it was over: the speech in front of the “Mission Accomplished” banner. After that moment, as the war continued unabated, the American middle figured out something didn’t smell right. So what did Trump do this morning? He let history repeat itself.
Here’s what Donald Trump tweeted this morning: “A perfectly executed strike last night. Thank you to France and the United Kingdom for their wisdom and the power of their fine Military. Could not have had a better result. Mission Accomplished!” Wait, he really tweeted that? Yes he did. We don’t know if his military action in Syria is over. But we do know that he just tied himself to one of Bush’s most embarrassing moments. Trump just made it okay to start criticizing him again, because he’s the one who just turned his military operation into an unfortunate punchline. Wow is Donald Trump stupid.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report