Campaigning in Tampa yesterday, Hillary Clinton blasted Donald Trump’s agenda on national security, explaining why the Republican nominee is “unfit and totally unqualified to be president of the United States.”
At the exact same time, Trump was campaigning in Virginia – participating in a town-hall forum in which no one from the audience was allowed to ask questions – inadvertently proving Clinton right.
Retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, a prominent Trump supporter, lobbed softball questions at the Republican nominee, which Trump nevertheless struggled with. Asked about cyber-security threats, for example, the GOP candidate replied:
“[Y]ou know cyber is becoming so big today. It’s becoming something that a number of years ago, short number of years ago, wasn’t even a word. And now the cyber is so big. And you know you look at what they’re doing with the Internet, how they’re taking and recruiting people through the Internet. And part of it is the psychology because so many people think they’re winning.”
Trump, who apparently has no idea what cyber security refers to, then transitioned to talking about a CNN poll that showed him narrowly leading among likely voters.
At the same event, asked about Iran, Trump offered this odd assessment: “[W]e also happened to have given them Iraq. Because, you know, I always say, Iraq and Iran were very similar militarily, and they’d fight, fight, fight, and then they’d rest. They’d fight, fight, fight, and then Saddam Hussein would do the gas, and somebody else would do something else, and they’d rest.”
Those foreign-policy lessons apparently aren’t going especially well for the Republican candidate.
But my personal favorite was Trump’s rhetoric about defeating ISIS: “I am also going to convene my top generals and give them a simple instruction: They will have 30 days to submit to the Oval Office a plan for defeating ISIS.”
Really? First, Donald Trump has assured Americans he already has a plan to defeat ISIS, so it’s not clear why he would convene military leaders and ask them to give him what he claims to already have.
Second, according to Trump, he knows more about ISIS than the generals, so as far as the Republican candidate is concerned, he should be advising them, not the other way around.
And finally, defeating ISIS takes more than just a 30-day deadline and a request for a plan. It’s not as if military generals are just sitting around, eager to destroy the terrorist group, waiting for a president to ask them what to do. President Obama launched a military offensive against ISIS targets that started in August 2014.
The fact that Trump considers national security one of his strongest issues isn’t a good sign.