If you were to go up to the plate and had previously determined to swing at every pitch, you would innevitably strikeout. This lesson is being learned by President Trump's media critics today as they offer up various hot takes on the raid that led ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi to blow himself up on Saturday. Richard Haass, president of The Council on Foreign Relations, joined CNN Newsroom on Monday to talk about the raid and Trump's reaction to it.
Co-host Poppy Harlow began the segment by asking Haass, "What is your reaction to the Administration, the special forces that carried this out and also how the president talked about it?"
Haass started out well enough, praising the professionalism of the soldiers involved, the intelligence gathering operations from both the U.S. government and our regional partners, as well as warning that the Baghdadi's death should not be seen as evidence of permanent victory, which was similar to what he said in 2011 when Bin Laden was killed.
It was then that Haass went after Trump in a hyperbolic and rather unnecessary way, "I thought it was to some extent counterproductive. I thought some of the gloating was un-American. It lacked a certain dignity to it." He then hyped the possibility that Trump's Sunday announcement, "might be something of an inspiration or a recruiting tool for young radicals around the world."
The media's reaction to the raid that killed Baghdadi has been hypocritical, but not necessarily surprising. There was not much concern in 2012 in the media over Obama's unofficial campaign slogan of "Bin Laden is dead and General Motors is alive" and whether that was un-American, undignified, or an Al-Qaeda recruiting tool, but then again the media thought Obama was "almost Biblical" in his abilities as commander-in-chief, so the worst thing he could ever do in their eyes was wearing a tan suit.
Under Obama in 2015, Haass declared on Morning Joe that it was time to give up on Iraq under ISIS: "I would say that we give up on Iraq as an intact country.... I think we're actually at the point where Iraq as an intact state, where the Rand McNally Iraq, those days are increasingly behind us." Trump didn't listen to that fatalism.
Here is a transcript of the October 28 show:
CNN Newsroom with Poppy Harlow and Jim Sciutto
10:25 AM ET
POPPY HARLOW: Joining us now to talk about the significance of developments here, Ambassador Richard Haass, President of the Council on Foreign Relations. Good morning to you and thank you for being here on such an important day on such important news
RICHARD HAASS: Good morning.
HARLOW: Good morning. What is your reaction to the administration, the special forces that carried this out and also how the president talked about it?
HAASS: Look, it's hard not to be impressed by the professionalism of the forces that carried out this operation. Obviously as you were just discussing, they had all sorts of intelligence support both from within the U.S. Government as well as from various regional partners. That's all good. It probably disrupts ISIS for some time. On the other hand, there's no permanent victories against ISIS or terrorists in general. It's decentralized, it’s as much a network or a movement as it is an organization, so obviously, it will reconstitute itself in many parts and it will try to strike again, and unfortunately it will probably succeed on occasion. The president's talk, I thought it was to some extent counterproductive. I thought some of the gloating was un-American. It lacked a certain dignity to it. I also thought it might be something of an inspiration or a recruiting tool for young radicals around the world.