National Security & Foreign Policy

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  • Weekly Standard Writer Slams Trump Over Report That He Might Consider Nuclear First Strike

    John Noonan: “Does [Trump] Understand Just How F’ing Dangerous That Is?”

    Blog ››› ››› CRAIG HARRINGTON

    A conservative national security expert and Weekly Standard writer responded with horror to a report that Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has repeatedly asked his foreign policy advisers, “Why can't we use nuclear weapons?"

    During an August 3 interview with former CIA and NSA director Michael Hayden, MSNBC host Joe Scarborough relayed how “a foreign policy expert” advising Trump told Scarborough that Trump had asked the adviser three times, “If we have [nuclear weapons], why can’t we use them?” According to the network, Scarborough only learned of Trump’s baffling approach to the United States’ nuclear arsenal “in the last few days” before reporting it. From Morning Joe:

    Conservative national security analyst John Noonan -- who periodically writes about national defense issues for The Weekly Standard and previously served as an adviser to 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and to 2016 presidential hopeful Jeb Bush -- slammed Trump on Twitter. Noonan’s nuclear expertise stems from his U.S. Air Force service, including work as a missile-launch officer at a nuclear silo in Wyoming. Noonan wondered if Trump understands “how F’ing dangerous” his foreign policy stances are, hit the nominee for “undoing 6 decades of proven deterrence theory,” and lamented the position of officers down the chain of command who are “[w]ondering if they’ll soon answer to a madman”:

    Noonan was not alone in criticizing Trump’s reported interest in using nuclear weaponry. Steve Breen, an editorial cartoonist for the right-leaning San Diego Union-Tribune, mocked the nominee with a depiction of a hypothetical President Trump being physically restrained from launching a nuclear assault in response to criticism from a constituent in Wichita, Kansas:

  • Right-Wing Media Distort WSJ Article To Claim Obama Administration Made Secret Payment To Iran

    The Obama Administration Announced Fund Transfer For Settlement Over Abandoned Arms Deal In January

    ››› ››› NICK FERNANDEZ

    Right-wing media figures are hyping a new article in The Wall Street Journal which reports the United States “secretly organized an airlift of $400 million worth of cash to Iran that coincided with the January release of four Americans detained in Tehran” to claim that the administration concealed this deal from the public. But President Obama explained in a January 17 press conference that, as a result of the newly agreed-upon Iran nuclear deal, Iran and the U.S. “are now settling a longstanding Iranian government claim against the United States government,” and Secretary of State John Kerry issued a press release the same day which explained “Iran will receive … $400 million,” “as well as a roughly $1.3 billion compromise on the interest.”

  • How Long Has MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough Sat On The Trump-Nuclear Weapons Story?

    Blog ››› ››› TYLER CHERRY

    UPDATE: Joe Scarborough reportedly "learned of the exchange 'in the last few days,' according to an MSNBC executive." 

    MSNBC host Joe Scarborough said that “several months ago,” Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump asked a foreign policy expert “three times in an hour briefing, ‘Why can’t we use nuclear weapons?’” The scoop has media figures asking how long Scarborough has had this information and why he is just now making it public.

    On the August 3 edition of MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Scarborough said, “several months ago, a foreign policy expert on the international level went to advise Donald Trump” and “three times in an hour briefing,” Trump asked, “‘Why can't we use nuclear weapons?’”

    JOE SCARBOROUGH (CO-HOST): Several months ago, a foreign policy expert on the international level went to advise Donald Trump, and three times he asked about the use of nuclear weapons. Three times he asked, at one point, "If we have them, why can't we use them?"

    MIKE BARNICLE: Wow.

    SCARBOROUGH: That's one of the reasons why he has -- he just doesn't have foreign policy experts around him.

    BARNICLE: Trump? Trump asked three times whether we can use nuclear weapons?

    SCARBOROUGH: Three times in an hour briefing, "Why can't we use nuclear weapons?"

    Media figures immediately questioned how long Scarborough knew about this story and if he had known for “several months,” why didn’t he report Trump’s comments when they happened:

    For months, Scarborough has oscillated between supporting and condemning Trump, and he along with Morning Joe co-host Mika Brzezinski have been criticized for their cozy relationship with the presidential nominee. 

  • Trump’s “Fact-Free” Comments On Russia's Annexation Of Crimea Roundly Condemned

    ››› ››› NICK FERNANDEZ

    Media figures roundly condemned Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump following his remarks that he would “be looking at” whether to “recognize Crimea as Russian territory.” Journalists and experts condemned Trump’s statements, saying they show either an “ignorance of a major geopolitical crisis or favoritism to Russia’s incursion,” and are “devoid of facts and divorced from traditional American and traditional European policy” regarding Russia and the 2014 annexation of the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine.

  • Fox's Fumbled Response To Khan Speech: Why Wasn't Benghazi Covered Like This?

    Fox Was Only Cable News Network Not To Air Khan, Benghazi Speeches During Conventions

    Blog ››› ››› TYLER CHERRY

    Fox News anchors Steve Doocy and Brian Kilmeade erroneously claimed that “no networks covered” the Republican National Convention speech from Patricia Smith, whose son was killed in the 2012 terrorist attacks in Benghazi, Libya. In fact, Fox News was the only cable news network not to carry Pat Smith’s speech live, yet the hosts alleged that “there is a double standard” because the “mainstream media is paying all the attention” to Khizr Khan’s Democratic convention speech.

    On July 18, the first night of the Republican National Convention, Patricia Smith -- the mother of a victim of the 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya -- attacked Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, blaming Clinton for her son’s death.

    MSNBC and CNN both carried Smith’s speech live. Fox News did not, opting instead for a live phone interview with Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.

    Yet on August 1, Doocy and Kilmeade lamented that “no networks” covered Smith’s remarks live. The hosts bemoaned that “the mainstream media is paying all the attention to the Khan family” -- parents of a fallen U.S. Army captain who spoke on July 28 at the Democratic National Convention and criticized Trump’s anti-Muslim rhetoric. Fox News was the only news cable network not to carry Khan’s speech, instead airing a Benghazi attack ad over the speech during commercial. Yet Kilmeade asserted “Nobody covered [Smith’s] remarks live but almost everybody covered Mr. Khan's remarks live”:

    STEVE DOOCY (CO-HOST): [The Khan family] lost their son, but there is a double standard. The mainstream media is paying all the attention to the Khan family and yet not so much to the Smith family. Sean Smith lost his life in Benghazi and it was one week earlier at the Republican convention where Pat Smith directly and personally blamed Hillary Clinton for her son getting killed. And why isn't this getting coverage?

    [...]

    BRIAN KILMEADE (CO-HOST): Meanwhile, I was on the floor for that. I did not know that no networks covered her. Nobody covered those remarks live but almost everybody covered Khan's, Mr. Khan's remarks live.

    DOOCY: There is a double standard it seems.

    Doocy and Kilmeade should take up their complaints of a “double standard” with their own network, which has long pushed the debunked myth and oft-repeated smear that Clinton deliberately lied about the cause of the Benghazi attacks.