National Security & Foreign Policy

Issues ››› National Security & Foreign Policy
  • The Media Aren't Buying Trump’s Claim That Intelligence Officials Criticized Obama During Confidential Briefing

    Blog ››› ››› ANDREW LAWRENCE

    Media figures immediately denounced Donald Trump’s claim during NBC’s Commander-In-Chief Forum that during an intelligence briefing, CIA officials expressed disappointment in President Obama and his handling of foreign affairs.

    In August, Trump began receiving intelligence briefings, which NBC News described as a description of “how US intelligence agencies see a variety of global issues.”

    During the forum, moderator Matt Lauer asked Trump if he had learned anything about strategy to combat ISIS or anything that would make him reconsider his promise to defeat the terror organization quickly. Trump replied that he did not learn anything like that during the briefing but he did learn that President Obama, Hillary Clinton, and John Kerry are “total disaster[s]” and that Obama “did not follow … what our experts said to do.”:

     

    MATT LAUER (MODERATOR): Did anything in that briefing, without going into specifics, shock or alarm you?

    DONALD TRUMP: Yes, very much so.

    LAUER: Did you learn new things in that briefing?

    TRUMP: First of all, I have great respect for the people that gave us the briefings. They were terrific people. They were experts on Iraq and Iran and different parts of -- and Russia. But yes, there was one thing that shocked me. And it just seems to me that what they said, President Obama, and Hillary Clinton, and John Kerry, who is another total disaster, did exactly the opposite.

    LAUER: Did you learn anything in that briefing, again, not going into specifics, that makes you reconsider some of the things you say you can accomplish like defeating ISIS quickly?

    TRUMP: No. I didn't learn anything from that standpoint. What I did learn is that our leadership, Barack Obama, did not follow what our experts and our truly -- when they call it intelligence, it's there for a reason. What our experts said to do.

    Trump’s claim was met with immediate skepticism. On MSNBC, former CIA Director Leon Panetta said he would be “very surprised” if the interaction Trump described took place and said it would be a “violation of [intelligence officials] responsibility.” Media figures described it as “untruthful,” and “hard to believe.” Furthermore, The Washington Post’s David Ignatius said the intelligence community would not make policy recommendations and that they would be “deeply upset” by Trump’s comments.

  • Reporters Castigate NBC's Matt Lauer For Letting Trump Lie About Opposing Iraq War

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    Reporters slammed NBC's Matt Lauer for allowing Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump to lie about his purported opposition to the Iraq War. 

    Trump regularly claims in interviews and on the stump that he opposed the war from the beginning, and repeated that claim during NBC's September 7 Commander-in-Chief Forum. There is no evidence to support this claim and February reporting from BuzzFeed News showed Trump voiced support “for invading Iraq” in 2002 and termed it a "tremendous success" after the invasion began.

    When Lauer allowed Trump to repeat the lie, journalists across the spectrum highlighted the falsehood and ripped into him for failing to follow up.

     

  • Media Call Out Donald Trump's Sequester Flip-Flop

    Trump Claimed Sequestration Was "Over-Exaggerated" In 2013

    ››› ››› ALEX MORASH

    Media are calling out Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump for flip-flopping on the 2013 federal spending sequester after Trump pledged to “eliminate the defense sequester” and increase military spending during a September 7 speech. Back in 2013, Trump supported the congressionally imposed sequester, saying “Frankly, this is a very minor amount of the cuts that have to be made.”

  • Fox Salutes Trump Plan To "Listen To The Generals" Despite His Claim To Know More About ISIS

    Trump Has Also Mentioned A Secret Plan For ISIS That He’s Withholding In Order To Be "Unpredictable"

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    After Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump delivered a foreign policy speech in which he promised to “ask the generals to present a plan within 30 days to defeat and destroy ISIS,” the hosts of Fox News’ Outnumbered took “a lot of comfort in the fact that he would say he’d listen to the generals.” But in the past, Trump has said, “I know more about ISIS than the generals do,” and he has claimed that he has a secret plan for defeating ISIS that he is keeping quiet so as to be “unpredictable.”

    This shift is both the latest of Donald Trump’s flip-flopping, “patently uninformed,” and “literally insane” foreign policy proposals and the most recent example of Fox News jumping to defend them. From the September 9 edition of Fox News’ Outnumbered:

    CHARLES HURT: The most important point on there is the first one, where he says that immediately after taking office, Mr. Trump will ask his generals to present a plan within 30 days to defeat and destroy ISIS. What he’s doing there, and I think that he did a very good job of this, is he’s saying that he’s going to trust his generals to go after ISIS in a very forceful way. Donald Trump has impeccable timing. He is very lucky in this respect. And that is that Hillary Clinton is running for Barack Obama's third term and as such he gets to run against her resumé, he gets to run against everything that’s going wrong in the world today. And as long as he stays there and just says, “I’m going to listen to my generals,” as long as he says that, he is going to beat her when it comes to military, foreign policy, and all that stuff.

    HARRIS FAULKNER (CO-HOST): Well it’s interesting too because you start there, that’s exactly where President Obama has had so much criticism, the questions about whether he listens to the people who are the experts militarily. What are your thoughts?

    MEGHAN MCCAIN (CO-HOST): My first thought was the best line was when he was talking about Hillary Clinton showing how vulnerable we are when it comes to cyberterrorism. Every foreign policy expert I’ve spoken to says this is the final frontier, this is what’s coming next. This woman has shown first and foremost that if you don’t follow the rules you can literally put our national security at risk and give our secrets to our enemies. So I thought that was very vulnerable -- or very powerful, excuse me. He wasn’t talking exactly about how we’re going to pay for everything, so I would like a little more policy specifics when it comes to that. But I think this is actually a really strong speech. A lot of us have been asking for him to start showcasing what he’s going to do, and I take a lot of comfort in the fact that he would say he’d listen to the generals in the first 30 days.

  • Breitbart News Attacked Clinton For Calling Mexican President A Friend, But Ignored Trump Doing Same

    Blog ››› ››› ANDREW LAWRENCE

    Breitbart News praised Donald Trump, who called Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto a “friend” during his visit with the leader in Mexico City, but the conservative media outlet previously harshly criticized Hillary Clinton for doing the same thing.

    Breitbart praised Trump’s August 31 visit with Nieto, describing it as a “triumph,” and commended his “softer, diplomatic persona.” The article, however, failed to mention Trump’s description of Nieto as his personal “friend”:

    DONALD TRUMP: A strong prosperous and vibrant Mexico is in the best interest of the United States and will keep and help keep, for a long, long period of time, America together. Both of our countries will work together for mutual good, and most importantly for the mutual good of our people. Mr. President, I want to thank you. It’s been a tremendous honor and I call you a friend. Thank you.

    However, in June 2016, Breitbart reported on a statement by Clinton in which she criticized Trump for praising “dictators like Vladimir Putin” while attacking “our friends – including the British prime minister, the mayor of London, the German chancellor, the president of Mexico and the Pope.” Breitbart attacked Clinton for her description of Nieto, calling him “scandal-plagued” and pointing out that Mexican media had accused him “of taking cartel money for his campaign.”

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton has claimed that Mexico’s corruption and scandal-plagued President Enrique Peña Nieto is America’s friend. The same president that has been accused by Mexican media of taking cartel money for his campaign while the country continues to see rising levels of violence, criminal impunity, and smuggling.

    […]

    Despite her efforts to attack Trump, Clinton failed to mention a few key facts about Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto that reveal he may not be a good friend to have. Earlier this year, Breitbart Texas reported on how an in-depth investigation by Aristegui Noticias in Mexico revealed that the Juarez Cartel had used shell companies to funnel money and help finance his presidential bid. The cartel moneys were used to purchase a series of cash cards that were handed out to individuals who pledged their vote to Peña Nieto’s party, the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI). The independent Mexican journalists also revealed that members of the Juarez Cartel had used various government programs to launder money and profit from their network of contacts. In addition to the cartel ties in his campaign, Peña Nieto has also been accused of taking bribes from wealthy businessmen in exchange for lucrative contracts.

    On August 17 it was announced that Stephen Bannon would be taking a leave of absence from his role as the executive chairman of Breitbart News LLC to become chief executive of Donald Trump’s campaign. Throughout the campaign Breitbart has received criticism for its devotion to Donald Trump, while Trump himself has shared Breitbart News articles 186 times on social media.

  • CNN's Wolf Blitzer: Reports Emerging That Mexican President Told Trump "Mexico Would Not Pay For That Wall"

    Blitzer: "There Seems To Be A Contradiction, A Serious Contradiction Emerging"

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    From the August 31 edition of CNN's The Situation Room:

    WOLF BLITZER (HOST): We're just getting this in from the Reuters News Agency. A spokesman for the Mexican president said, yes, they did speak about the wall, and that Mexico -- the president of the Mexico said -- told Donald Trump very bluntly, "Mexico would not pay for that wall." You heard Donald Trump said that they spoke about the wall but they didn't talk about who would pay for the wall. So there seems to be a contradiction, a serious contradiction emerging, David, right now.

    Previously:

    Media Figures Mock Trump For Backing Off Previous Demand Mexico Pay For Border Wall

    Sean Hannity's Dream Died In Mexico City

    Fox's Eric Bolling Suggests Mexico And America Work On Border Wall Together To Create Jobs

  • Bloomberg’s Heilemann: “We’re Setting The Bar Low” For Trump, “But That’s Sometimes Where You Have To Set The Bar”

    Nicolle Wallace: “The Fact That He Did Not Show Up In A Foreign Country And Get Run Out Of The Place, That Was A Good Day For Trump”

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    From the August 31 edition of Bloomberg's With All Due Respect:

    NICOLLE WALLACE (CO-HOST): In terms of where he is, there are some voters out there, who, the fact that he did not show up in a foreign country and get run out of the place, that was a good day for Trump.

    JOHN HEILEMANN (CO-HOST): Yes, and, again, we're setting the bar low. 

    WALLACE: Very low. 

    HEILEMANN: Let's be clear. We're setting the bar low, but that's sometimes where you have to set the bar.

    Previously:

    Here's What Latinos In The Media Are Saying About Trump's Sudden Visit To Mexico

    Fox's MacCallum Gives Credibility To Trump's Mexico Visit Stunt By Painting It As Presidential

    Trump Flies To Mexico, Trump's Traveling Press Corps Left Behind In America

  • Fox's Eric Bolling Suggests Mexico And America Work On Border Wall Together To Create Jobs

    Bolling: "That's Probably Hundreds Of Thousands Of Jobs"

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    From the August 31 edition of Fox News' The Five:

    ERIC BOLLING: You know what you could even do? He could actually have some sort of group dynamic where both countries actually use the laborers to build that wall. That's probably hundreds of thousands of jobs. That's a lot of money going back to Mexico. Not a bad idea. 

    Previously:

    Fox's Eric Bolling Is Donald Trump's Biggest Fan

    Fox's Bolling Defends Trump's "Deportation Force" As "Good For Latinos"

    Fox's Eric Bolling Reprimands GOP Congressman For Not Supporting Trump

  • Here's What Latinos In The Media Are Saying About Trump's Sudden Visit To Mexico

    ››› ››› DINA RADTKE

    Latino media figures are infuriated at the announcement that Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is traveling to Mexico to meet with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto. Several Latinos in the media noted that Trump has built his campaign on aggressively attacking Mexico and Mexican immigrants in the United States, and called the move a Hail Mary pass between two “desperate men.”

  • GOP Strategist: Trump Has Been “Existing In This Sort Of Sean Hannity-Rush Limbaugh Bubble”

    Rick Wilson: Trump’s Meeting With Mexico's President Will Be “A Dumpster Fire”

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    From the August 31 edition of MSNBC’s MSNBC Live with Tamron Hall:

    TAMRON HALL (HOST): How do you see this meeting [between Donald Trump and Mexico's president] playing out today? 

    RICK WILSON: I see this meeting playing out as being a dumpster fire on top of a giant mountain of burning tires. There is very little condition that Donald Trump comes out of this where he doesn't, first off, lie about what happened in the meeting. He is going to say, "The Mexicans agreed to everything I want. They're building the wall -- we’re building the wall. They're paying for it." And then the Mexicans are going to blow him up. This is a guy who has -- he's been very accustomed to existing in this sort of Sean Hannity-Rush Limbaugh bubble for the last few months where no alternative reality impinges. But this is a real deal with an actual head of state of a foreign power. And he's going to have to go there and he can't just lie his way out of it. He can't just say, "Oh, they've agreed to all my terms. The Mexicans are now writing a check for me at this very moment to build my magical wall." And the problem is more broadly, he's trying to, quote, unquote, "appeal to Hispanic voters." But he's about to give a speech tonight that is pure Stephen Miller, that is going to be the same story that he's told before where he's talking about Mexicans as practically genetically criminals and they're rapists and all this other stuff to appeal to his base. And I don't think he's going to get anywhere with Hispanic voters in this country by continuing to be so divisive and by having to live up to what his crowds desire versus what would be smart politically. He’s not a guy with any compassion in his soul so it's going to fall very flat. 

    Previously:

    A GOP Strategist Explains How Donald Trump Knows Anti-Semites And White Nationalists Are "The Center Of His Play" 

    Donald Trump’s Probable Immigration Plan Will Be Ripped Straight From Right-Wing Media

    Sean Hannity And Donald Trump’s Immigration Townhall Focuses On Fearmongering

    Limbaugh: Trump And I Say "Similar Things" About Immigrants, And Now He's "Changed The Entire Debate"