There. I said it.
It’s something the conservative intelligentsia will look down on me for saying. I guess because some Trump supporters are wild fanatics, the rest of us are supposed to pretend we didn’t enjoy his presidency. It’s not acceptable in the upper echelons of the punditry class to engage in “whataboutism” or wistfulness. The mainstream media has decided for us that Trump is toxic.
Frankly, there are all kinds of reasons to dislike Trump, to believe he was toxic, to discount his supporters. I don’t agree with every complaint, but we’ve heard them all without ceasing since the man left office, so I don’t need rehash them.
Some may feel that Trump’s unceremonious ousting from the White House was a good thing for America, but I refuse to pretend that he wasn’t infinitely better for the safety of this nation than the current President just so I can win the approval of the “smartest people in the room” on the conservative side.
Looking at the absolute horror coming out of Afghanistan right now, I feel I can say with confidence and conviction that President Donald J. Trump would never have let this happen.
I may have had questions about Trump’s personality, policy decisions, penchant for nicknames, etc., but I never once questioned his loyalty to this country or to the people who serve it. I never once questioned his determination to honor the history of American resolve through stubborn strength. I never once wondered if Trump would leave Americans behind in a war zone if he had a say in it.
It was Trump who listened to the families of hostages – people Obama ignored to save his own disastrous foreign policy – and worked to get the victims out of horrific situations in places like Syria and Iran. It was Trump who managed to get poor Otto Warmbier home, although by that time it was too late for the unfortunate young man. It was Trump who took the time to meet with grief-stricken family members of service members, and there is no evidence he fell asleep or checked his watch one time while doing so. It was Trump who heeded the pleas of those seeking justice and commuted the sentence of Alice Johnson and pushed criminal justice reform as far as he could as a member of the Executive.
Say what you want about the man, Donald Trump would have never let the Taliban dictate the terms of a safe exit of Americans from Kabul. He never would have let our troops be humiliated and murdered because of American negligence. He never would have put America last while every other nation with troops in Afghanistan put civilians first, even rescuing some of our own. He never would have agreed to a deadline that didn’t also include getting every last American out of the country.
And we all know he never would have walked away from a press conference on any of it. Throughout his presidency, Trump had a purposefully contentious relationship with the media, but he never shied away from the myriad of tough (and often ridiculous) questions asked by the likes of Jim Acosta. You never had to wonder what the man was thinking. If he wasn’t holding a press conference he was on social media. President Trump was lambasted by his media foes for every decision he made, but the fact is he made decisions. President Trump was lambasted by his media foes for speaking harshly to and about certain international leaders, but the fact is he wasn’t afraid to flex. He wasn’t afraid to remind the world that America is still the most powerful nation on earth and when we have the resolve, we can wield the type of shock and awe that forces the world to stand with us, or simply stand down.
Even if I were to take a more cynical view of the man, I can still say with confidence that Trump wouldn’t have let this happen if for no other reason than it’s just bad optics. Trump is a pop culture phenomenon, and he knows optics matter and he knows how to wield them to his advantage. The picture of him holding the Bible in front of St.John’s church wasn’t a troll, it was a statement.
Now that we have some hindsight on the christophobia of the Black Lives Matter/Antifa crowd that literally burned down a church, it is safe to say it was a good statement. A right statement. But it was also a smart statement. He understood the importance of the optics of a President who is in confidently in charge during a chaotic time. The Showbiz President knew how to make a point.
Compare Trump’s bombastic, confident air of leadership with Biden’s frailty. Joe Biden can’t even keep his head up when speaking with foreign allies in the Oval Office. While Trump endured hostile presser after hostile presser, Biden admittedly has orders as to who he can take questions from, and he’s given the questions ahead of time. Even still, he can’t seem to confidently wade through a totally scripted press conference. He looks weaker every time he appears in public.
Biden is constantly signaling to the American public and our global enemies that he is not in control. So much so that he’s not even allowed to decide if and from whom he will take questions. One cannot even fathom Donald Trump suggesting he’s not in control of the office he occupies. Some looked at the rotating cast of characters in Trump’s White House as a weakness, but the more we see of an unsteady Joe Biden, the more it looks like Trump’s decisions were not chaotic, but in fact Trump was exerting control over his environment. In business, when you fail, you’re fired. Trump’s business acumen made the “failing upward” culture of D.C. intolerable to him.
Afghanistan was a boondoggle for a lot of reasons that span multiple presidencies. There is plenty of blame to go around and no doubt Trump would be taking a lot of heat for whatever was happening there right now were he still in charge.
At least we would have the comfort of knowing someone was in charge.
I don’t care how stupid the elitists in the punditry class think this sounds, I’ll say it anyway, because it deserves to be said…loudly.
What is happening in Afghanistan right now is horrific and pathetic and absolutely unacceptable and Donald Trump would have never let this happen.