While in an airport restaurant during the 2020 presidential campaign, I met a chaplain who serves in the military. “I did not vote for (former President Donald) Trump in 2016,” he told me, “But I intend to do so this time.” When Trump first ran, the chaplain said, he found Trump “crass” and “obnoxious,” and felt he lacked the “temperament to be president.”
So, what happened?
He explained that his son, also in the military, serves in special operations where he undertakes highly secretive, extremely dangerous missions. “But my son,” he said, “feels safe and secure with Trump as Commander-in-Chief because, as my son and his fellow ops guys put it, ‘Our enemies are scared (bleep)less of Trump.’ So, Trump is helping keep my son safe. Good enough for me.”
No one, of course, knows whether Russian President Vladimir Putin would have invaded Ukraine had Trump been re-elected. Or whether Hamas would have colluded with Iran to launch the Oct. 7 horrific terror attacks against Israel. Or whether 8 million illegal aliens in the last three years would have crossed our southern border, including 1.5 million known “gotaways” along with, so far, in fiscal 2023, over 160 on the terror watch list. Or whether the border crossers would have included tens of thousands of “special interest aliens,” defined by the Department of Homeland Security as “such individuals or groups (that) are employing travel patterns known or evaluated to possibly have a nexus to terrorism.” Or whether China would engage in its post-Trump aggression.
As to Putin and Ukraine, consider President Joe Biden’s precipitous pullout from Afghanistan. The move caught our allies flatfooted, left hundreds of Americans and thousands of our Afghan collaborators stranded, caused the death of 13 service members, and left behind an estimated $8 billion in U.S. military equipment, some of which likely has been and are being using against U.S. service members, U.S. bases and U.S. interests. Perhaps even worse, Biden claims he was not advised that the Afghan government would almost immediately collapse, and the Taliban would quickly reassert power. Biden said, “The intelligence community did not say, back in June or July (2021) that in fact (Afghanistan) was going to collapse like it did.” But U.S. Central Command head Frank McKenzie told Congress, “I recommended that we maintain 2,500 troops in Afghanistan. I also recommended, in the fall of 2020, that we maintain 4,500 at that time.” Then-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley told Congress he made similar recommendations. Former Ambassador Frank Wisner, who served in various senior positions in both Republican and Democrat administrations, attributed Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine, at least in part, to “our shambolic performance in Afghanistan.”
As to Hamas’s massive terror attack against Israel that Biden officials acknowledge Iran helped facilitate, Biden tried to revive the Iran nuclear deal from which Trump withdrew, following which the former president imposed sanctions that severely damaged Iran’s economy. In March 2021, CNBC reported, “Iran’s economy is crumbling after years of U.S. sanctions. … Iran’s economy contracted an estimated 4.99% in 2020, steadily shrinking since 2017. In comparison, the Islamic Republic enjoyed a sharp economic growth of 12.5% in 2016 after the nuclear deal was signed.” In exchange for the release of five American hostages, Biden agreed to return to Iran $6 billion in oil revenue, something he has since moved to block. The Wall Street Journal wrote last month, “Iran’s (oil) production surge occurred mostly over the summer as the Administration sought to strike a nuclear deal with Tehran and counter rising U.S. gasoline prices.” Biden’s retreat from the Trump sanctions on Iranian oil has enriched Iran, according to many other experts, by some $50 billion.
As for the borders, despite DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas’s repeated assurances that our southern border “is secure,” few believe it. An August ABC News/Washington Post Poll gave Biden an immigration approval rating of 23 percent described by ABC as a “career low,” with Trump besting the president on immigration by 12 points.
Policies matter. Leadership matters. Decisions have consequences. For Biden, the good news is that the election is a full year away. The bad news is that Biden remains Biden, and he is not getting any younger nor, apparently, any wiser.
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