NBC Decries Trump Taking ‘Victory Lap’ After Killing ISIS Leader

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The liberal media were so enamored with President Obama when he gave the order that ultimately resulted in the death of Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden; to the point of almost treating it as though he was the one to pull the actual trigger. But with news breaking late Saturday night that ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi met the same fate, the Sunday morning newscasts were awash with anti-Trump journalists whining about President Trump using it a victory for his Middle East policies.

During NBC’s Sunday Today, chief White House correspondent Hallie Jackson noted that “Trump has repeatedly celebrated what he calls the defeat of ISIS,” but recalled, “He has not talked much personally about al-Baghdadi by name.” The tone and juxtaposition of those points were meant to suggest she was catching Trump in a contradiction.

The President’s speech this morning will be a commander-in-chief moment for him, but consider the backdrop here, Willie. It comes at a time when critics have really raise questions about his policy in Syria,” she cautioned, to dump some cold water on the President.

Host Willie Geist then brought on couple leftist partisans in Obama-era CIA official Jeremy Bash and NBC political director Chuck Todd.

Bash recognized that al-Baghdadi was an important person to eliminate, but doubted if Trump’s decision would be of any military importance given his decision to leave Syria:

So, I think this is symbolically very important, whether it’s militarily important really depends, because last week or in the last two weeks, President Trump made a decision that really took the foot off the neck of ISIS by taking the ground forces that was containing them, the Kurds, and abandoning them.

 

 

Todd worried that the President would use this massive win as evidence to prove his instincts on pulling out of Syria, and America’s capabilities were accurate. He even claimed Trump’s address to the nation later that morning would be his “mission accomplished” moment (click “expand”):

CHUCK TODD: Well, I think it is going to be a battle of I told you so’s in some ways in, frankly, the President's own circles. I think you are going to have some who have warned the President “be careful we should not pull back our presence,” are going to say, “see our presence there, our ability to work with the Kurds, get the intelligence, that’s how we got Baghdadi and we’re going to have to be there and stay there and remain there to make sure ISIS does not reform.” And I think President Trump is going to look at this and say, “see? I can shrink the footprint and do this.”

I’ll be curious to see his posture this morning. But it very much might have a “mission accomplished” feel to it on this. And I think rhetorically, the President is going to feel as if he has a chip to play here that is – in this basically he's debating having with his own party, and in some cases, with his own national security team, to say, “Hey, I think I can win the political argument on this one. We got al Baghdadi.”

It is going to be likely that President Trump is going to take a victory lap and likely argue, ‘look, this is a sign that my Middle East foreign policy is working and, frankly, that my America's first foreign policy is working to draw down troops from these foreign entanglements,’” warned White House correspondent Kristen Welker, admitting she was echoing Todd.

Meanwhile, over on ABC’s Good Morning America, co-Anchor Eva Pilgrim wasn’t sure if Al-Baghdadi’s elimination was actually a good thing for the President. “Terry, the President has really been under tough scrutiny, the impeachment inquiry, members of his own party criticizing him for his decision in Syria. Is this a big victory for the President,” she asked senior national correspondent Terry Moran.

Moran admitted “it is a big victory for the President,” but almost immediately downplayed it as par for the course for presidents. “It's also the kind of thing that Americans expect presidents to accomplish (…) This is the kind of presidential leadership that people do expect,” he said.

ABC also cast doubt on it being a strategical win for Trump since he decided to pull out of Syria. So much for the anti-war left.

The transcripts are below, click "expand" to read:

ABC’s Good Morning America
October 27, 2019
8:04:57 a.m. Eastern

(…)

EVA PILGRIM: Terry, the President has really been under tough scrutiny, the impeachment inquiry, members of his own party criticizing him for his decision in Syria. Is this a big victory for the President?

TERRY MORAN: Sure, it is a big victory for the President. It's also the kind of thing that Americans expect presidents to accomplish. I mean, it is hard to remember, I was in northern Iraq and Syria in 2014 when ISIS seemed unstoppable under al-Baghdadi’s leadership. President Trump is the one who decided to double down on eliminating their territorial gains. Now he's killed the leader. This is the kind of presidential leadership that people do expect. Eva.

(…)

 

NBC’s Sunday Today
October 27, 2019
8:05:41 a.m. Eastern

(…)

HALLIE JACKSON: Willie, good morning to you. I am told by my sources that multiple officials, including the President, huddled at the White House late into the evening. With one official telling me a small group monitored developments on this from the Situation Room. Two people familiar with the matter says President Trump personally approved the operation, which we are told happens quickly once U.S. officials received actionable intelligence.

President Trump has repeatedly celebrated what he calls the defeat of ISIS. But you know, he has not talked much personally about al-Baghdadi by name. He has mentioned Baghdadi’s brief stint at a detention facility back in 2004. The President’s speech this morning will be a commander-in-chief moment for him, but consider the backdrop here, Willie. It comes at a time when critics have really raise questions about his policy in Syria.

WILLIE GEIST: All right, Hallie Jackson at the White House for us. Hallie, thank you very much.

The President will be speaking to the nation about an hour from now. Let's bring in NBC’s political director and moderator of Meet the Press, Chuck Todd, also Jeremy Bash, the former chief of staff at the CIA and the Pentagon during the Obama administration and an NBC national security analyst, and with me here in New York, White House correspondent Kristen Welker, good morning to you all.

Jeremy, let me start with you. Eight and a half years after special forces killed Osama bin Laden. We now have the apparent death of the leader of ISIS, Baghdadi. What is the significance of this? Put it in some context for us.

JEREMY BASH: Whereas bin Laden was responsible for the death of 3,000 Americans, Al Baghdadi may not be the household name in America but he was the most important leader ISIS, the terrorist organization that really had two elements, Willie. One is that it established that land-based caliphate in the Middle East. But it also inspired many franchises, many offshoots. People inspired by ISIS and Baghdadi’s charisma to conduct operations in France and all around the world.

So, I think this is symbolically very important, whether it’s militarily important really depends, because last week or in the last two weeks, President Trump made a decision that really took the foot off the neck of ISIS by taking the ground forces that was containing them, the Kurds, and abandoning them.

GEIST: And that leads me to you, Chuck Todd. Chuck, we have heard that criticism, of course, over the last month of the President of the United States getting on the phone with President Erdogan in Turkey and effectively stepping aside in northern Syria. How does this news last night fit into all of that?

CHUCK TODD: Well, I think it is going to be a battle of I told you so’s in some ways in, frankly, the President's own circles. I think you are going to have some who have warned the President “be careful we should not pull back our presence,” are going to say, “see our presence there, our ability to work with the Kurds, get the intelligence, that’s how we got Baghdadi and we’re going to have to be there and stay there and remain there to make sure ISIS does not reform.” And I think President Trump is going to look at this and say, “see? I can shrink the footprint and do this.”

I’ll be curious to see his posture this morning. But it very much might have a “mission accomplished” feel to it on this. And I think rhetorically, the President is going to feel as if he has a chip to play here that is – in this basically he's debating having with his own party, and in some cases, with his own national security team, to say, “Hey, I think I can win the political argument on this one. We got al Baghdadi.”

GEIST: And how fascinating as talk about Americans and the Kurds, a tweet a couple of hours ago from General Mazloum, who leads the Kurdish military, saying, “A successful and historical operation due to joints of intelligence work with the United States of America.” Kurds working with the United States.

So, Kristen, we will hear from the President less than an hour from now. What do you expect he's going to say today?

KRISTEN WELKER: Well, Willie, I think Chuck touched on this. It is going to be likely that President Trump is going to take a victory lap and likely argue, “look, this is a sign that my Middle East foreign policy is working and, frankly, that my America's first foreign policy is working to draw down troops from these foreign entanglements.”

But there are still a number of questions that are unanswered. So, I’ll be listening closely to see if he answers those. How many troops are going to stay in the region? Because we know there is going to be a residual number of troops, the President said, to man oil fields. And then Willie, how are they going to make sure that ISIS does not become resurgent? They are turning and leaning on Turkey for that. I spoke to a senior official overnight, who said the President is willing to re-impose sanctions against Turkey if he feels as though they are not living up to their end of the bargain with this.

GEIST: Kristen Welker thank you.

(…)

NB Daily al Baghdadi Dead Foreign Policy Middle East Syria Double Standards Military War on Terrorism Broadcast Television ABC Good Morning America NBC Today Video ISIS Hallie Jackson Chuck Todd Willie Geist Kristen Welker Terry Moran Donald Trump Jeremy Bash

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