Sunday, January 12, 2020

What did Donald Trump do today?

He basically admitted he'd lied in his most recent version of why he ordered the assassination of an Iranian general.

Ever since Qassem Soleimani, an Iranian general, was assassinated by drone strike on Trump's orders on January 2, Trump has struggled to offer a reason as to what (other than his own political situation) made it necessary. The official White House explanation has shifted wildly ever since, and classified Congressional briefings given after the fact left members of both parties furious over their lack of substance. 

On Thursday of this past week, Trump declared that Soleimani was involved in a plot to "blow up" an American embassy. 

Then, in an interview on Friday with Laura Ingraham of Fox News, Trump said that Soleimani was planning to destroy not one but four American embassies. (Neither version of Trump's story about embassy attacks made it into the top-secret briefing that senators got on Wednesday.)

Today, Defense Secretary Mark Esper made the rounds of Sunday talk shows and admitted that Trump's claim about multiple embassy attacks was not based on "evidence" but rather Trump's "belief" that such a thing could happen. 

Since there is no chance that Esper would make such an admission without Trump's approval, this essentially amounts to Trump admitting that he was making it up.

Trump's decision to kill Soleimani has led directly to the Iraqi parliament voting to expel American troops, and Iran's withdrawal from the arms control agreement that was holding back its development of nuclear weapons. 

Why is this a bad thing?

  • Presidents who have a good reason for the things they do don't need to make up fake ones.