It was just a couple of years ago that Donald Trump said he had a secret plan to defeat ISIS. “Unfortunately, I’ll probably have to tell at some point [what the plan is], but there is a method of defeating them quickly and effectively and having total victory,” Trump said. He added at the time, “All I can tell you it is a foolproof way of winning.”
Soon after, Trump said he’d like to share his secret plan, but if he did, other presidential candidates would steal his amazing national security solution. He told the Des Moines Register in June 2015, “The problem with politics is if I tell you right now, everyone else is going to say, ‘Wow, what a great idea.’ You’re going to have 10 candidates go and use it, and they’re going to forget where it came from, which is me. But no, I have an absolute way of defeating ISIS.”
As regular readers know, Trump was lying. The president effectively admitted as much in January, when he signed an executive directive on the matter, asking his national security team to come up with some kind of anti-ISIS plan for him.
There have been hints in recent months that Trump’s plan would mirror the Obama administration’s plan – which is to say, the plan Trump said was a failure – and the New York Times reported in March that, with limited exceptions, Trump administration officials showed little interest in abandoning Obama’s strategy.
With the “new” plan nearly complete, the Washington Post reports today that the coming policy looks an awful lot like the old policy.
The Pentagon is putting the final touches on a promised new counter-Islamic State strategy for Syria and Iraq, and it looks very much like the one the Obama administration pursued, according to senior defense officials.
As Retired Admiral James Stavridis, an NBC News analyst, put it a few months ago, “The current plan to defeat the Islamic State is just like that old saying: Plan B is just, ‘Try harder at Plan A.’”
And what about voters who believed Trump seriously had a secret, “foolproof” way of destroying ISIS? Circling back to our previous coverage, they’re welcome to commiserate with voters who believed Trump was going to replace “Obamacare” with a plan that covers “everybody,” those who expected him to keep his promise not to cut Medicaid, those who thought his budget would benefit working families, those who believed he’d combat the opioid epidemic, those who took seriously his rhetoric about standing up to Wall Street, those who thought he’d “drain the swamp” and weaken lobbyists’ influence, and those who thought he wouldn’t go golfing all the time.