Fox News hosts and pundits lauded President Donald Trump’s speech calling for an increase in American troop presence in Afghanistan calling it “a great speech” delivered “perfectly.”
Donald Trump announced troop increase in Afghanistan
Wash. Post: “Trump announces new strategy for Afghanistan that calls for a troop increase.” The Washington Post reported President Donald Trump announced a new strategy for the U.S. war in Afghanistan, with a plan that involved an increase in U.S. troop presence:
President Trump outlined a revised vision for the U.S. war in Afghanistan on Monday, pledging to end a strategy of “nation-building” and instead institute a policy aimed more squarely at addressing the terrorist threat that emanates from the region.
“I share the American people’s frustration,” he said. “I also share their frustration over a foreign policy that has spent too much time, energy, money — and, most importantly, lives — trying to rebuild countries in our own image instead of pursuing our security interests above all other considerations.”
But Trump provided few specifics about his policy and how much the U.S. military commitment in the region would increase as a result, insisting that conditions on the ground would determine troop levels and strategy.
Trump’s decision to further commit to the nation’s longest war, rather than withdraw, reflects a significant shift in his approach to Afghanistan since taking office and marks a new willingness to take greater ownership of a protracted conflict that he had long dismissed as a waste of time and resources. As a candidate, Trump denounced Afghanistan as a “total disaster” and railed that the costly conflict in Central Asia drained enormous resources at a time of more pressing needs at home for American taxpayers. [The Washington Post, 8/21/17]
Fox News lauds Trump speech
Fox News military analyst Jack Keane: “I’m impressed because we finally got a commander-in-chief who speaks honestly.” Fox News military analyst Jack Keane said he was “impressed” by Trump’s speech, saying, “we finally got a commander-in-chief who speaks honestly.” Keane added, “we’ve had this political deception for such a long time, dealing with Afghanistan”:
BRET BAIER (HOST): Think about, General, the difference between this speech and the speech that President Obama delivered, where there was a timeline set, numbers set. The critics always said by doing that, the Taliban operates in calendars, not clocks, and they just waited until that moment.
JACK KEANE: Yeah, I'm impressed because we finally got a commander-in-chief who speaks honestly, not just to those troops who are in front of him -- and I love the way he talks about them in the beginning, and expresses genuine feelings for them and where he ends on them, and you know those are serious feelings he's talking about, but he spoke honestly to the American people.
And we've had this political deception for such a long time, dealing with Afghanistan. And you put your finger right on it, President Obama -- when McChrystal and Petraeus come before him and they gives him a plan to win in Afghanistan, he gives them 25 percent less troops than the minimum that they had requested, and then he goes out and makes a speech at West Point a few days later, never having discussed this with them, that he's going to pull the troops out in 15 months. That -- that decision, those two decisions, not giving them enough troops and pulling them out, doomed Afghanistan to this non-winnable situation that brought President Trump to the rostrum tonight. [Fox News, 8/21/17]
Fox’s Dana Perino: “It was a great speech,” “we’re going to stay, and he says we’re going to win.” Fox host Dana Perino declared Trump’s speech was “setting aside politics,” adding “it was a great speech, and basically what he decided was that leaving was worse than staying, so we’re going to stay, and he says we’re going to win.”:
DANA PERINO: Tonight, I think setting politics aside is what he did, and that was so important because he was speaking directly in front of military members, so it was a non-partisan crowd, there's not cheering, there's not like, a rally like he'll have tomorrow night in Arizona.
So, he was speaking directly to them, and by all accounts, as Bret said earlier, the special forces and veterans of the Afghan war love tonight's speech. They appreciated it, they felt that they were speaking directly to him.
For those who think there wasn't any new policy, I have to really point out that this idea that Pakistan is now put on notice is really important, and the president leaned toward India, also very important for the region. That is different, and the president also sort of backed off this idea that there would be talks with the Taliban. Maybe there will be. but that certainly had been sort of rumored in the press to be out there. He didn't say that tonight. Thought it was a great speech, and basically what he decided was that leaving was worse than staying, so we're going to stay, and he says we're going to win. [Fox News, 8/21/17]
Fox’s Sean Hannity: “The speech was also delivered perfectly, the right tone, the right cadence, the right pitch.” Fox News’ Sean Hannity lauded Trump’s speech, and claimed it was “delivered perfectly,” with “the right tone, the right cadence, the right pitch”:
SEAN HANNITY (HOST): President Trump offers a new vision for American foreign policy during a national address at Fort Myer in Virginia, where he outlined a new agenda for Afghanistan. I have my full opening monologue coming up later in the show, also Newt Gingrich will join us, and of course, we will get analysis from our military leaders.
But first, it was the perfect setting at Fort Myer in Arlington, Virginia in front of his cabinet, and, of course, the troops. Now, he stood there on hallowed ground right near America's national cemetery, where thousands of brave men and women who fought, and bled, and died for our country are laid to rest. Now, the speech was also delivered perfectly, the right tone, the right cadence, the right pitch. [Fox News, Hannity, 8/21/17]
Fox contributor John Bolton: “Much of what the president said is exactly right.” Fox News contributor John Bolton said Trump’s speech was “a dramatic change from the Obama administration,” and claimed “I think much of what the president said is exactly right.”
JOHN BOLTON: I think this is a dramatic change from the Obama administration. That's probably the most important thing, and I think that comes through clearly in a lot of respects. I think much of what the president said is exactly right, he’s not going to have artificial time limits, he’s not going to negotiate with the Taliban until presumably they have been sufficiently beaten back, so they negotiate on our terms, and he said to the troops that they'll have the necessary tools and the right rules of engagement. [Fox News, Hannity, 8/21/17]
Fox’s Oliver North: Trump “hasn’t given a specific number of troops he’s going to put there,” “that’s very important,” “that’s a very positive thing.” Fox host Oliver North claimed it was “a very positive thing” that Trump “hasn’t given a specific number of troops he’s going to put in there,” adding “that’s very important, it sets our adversaries on notice, that they can’t simply fight us and wait us out”:
SEAN HANNITY (HOST): Let me ask you this, when the president talked about going against his own instinct, based on what he learned and who he spoke to, and the things that you can only know and learn as being president -- some people would say “Oh, that’s -- he’s changing his position,” I don’t see it that way at all. I think it’s the reality of what we’re facing.
Then, every one of my military friends was writing me, ecstatic tonight, those who served especially under Obama. “Oh, we're not going to telegraph? We’re going to take the handcuffs off? The rules of engagement are going to be on? You mean we can actually fight a war and not get accused of murdering the enemy, when they’re coming with an IED or some type of explosive device to kill us?”
OLIVER NORTH: I remember the last president announcing he was going to do a troop surge, and then the very next day he went to a U.S. military academy at West Point and announced when they were withdrawing.
This president just said it's a conditions-based withdrawal. He hasn't given a specific number of troops he's going to put in there. That's very important, it sets our adversaries on notice, that they can't simply fight us and wait us out. In other words, this is not a time-driven strategy, and that's a very positive thing.
I think notwithstanding what the ambassador just said about Pakistan, it puts them on notice, and the rules of engagement are now changed, so that they're defined not in the quarters of power in Washington, they’re defined out there on the battlefield. [Fox News, Hannity, 8/21/17]
Newt Gingrich: “This was one of the most honest national security speeches of my lifetime.” Fox contributor Newt Gingrich said the tone of Trump’s speech “brings the Trump presidency up to historic proportions." Gingrich said he was “really proud” of the president because he “had the courage” to “pick the right advisors.” Gingrich added, “This was one of the most honest national security speeches of my lifetime, and I think the president deserves enormous credit for the way he approached it”:
NEWT GINGRICH: This is a moment, the tone he set tonight in speaking to the country as the president of the whole country, speaking to the country as the commander-in-chief -- if he would to take that tone tomorrow into Yuma, Arizona and then if he would take that tone on to the -- I think, Veterans of Foreign Wars or American Legion convention the following day, -- I mean, that’s the tone that brings the Trump presidency up to historic proportions, and tonight he did it as close to perfectly as you could.
There's a second part I was really struck with, where I’m really proud of him and I think it's hard to imagine how difficult it is. He's a very strong willed person, he admitted it early on. He said I normally historically do what is my first instinct, but he also said, you know, being president changes things. He had the courage to stop, to pick the right advisors, to listen to those advisors, and ultimately go down a trail that was not the one he thought six or eight months ago he was going on, and to be honest with the American people about what he was doing.
This was one of the most honest national security speeches of my lifetime, and I think the president deserves enormous credit for the way he approached it, for the way he thought it through, for the precision of what he said. There are 10 or 12 key principles in this speech, that really are a fundamental break with the policies of the last few years, in a way that will make us more powerful, more capable, and more likely to win. [Fox News, Hannity, 8/21/17]
Ed Henry: “One word, leadership,” “he stepped up to the plate tonight.” In an appearance on Fox News’ The Five, Fox's Ed Henry said Trump “stepped up to the plate tonight” during his speech, adding “big picture here, it was a leadership moment for him”:
ED HENRY (GUEST HOST): He is talking about war and peace, and he is talking about finally winning this war, by the way, which is a big deal.
DANA PERINO (CO-HOST): Yeah, and it's like his first primetime address.
HENRY: Absolutely, especially on a policy issue of this gravity. Here is a bottom line, one word, leadership. He stepped up to the plate tonight. He had a rough week last week, and he said, “I am going to show leadership.” He admitted that basically this is a flip-flop. That is not easy for any president to do, especially this president, who likes to show that he is tough, right?
He said again and again, before he was running, and when he was running, going back to at least 2011, "Get out," and he said “If I’m elected, I’m out, enough with the money, enough with the lost lives, enough with the misadventure.” But he said, “Look, I got behind that desk in the Oval Office, and I was elected to make tough decisions.” This is a tough decision, but he kept using the other word, not just leadership, “win,” “we are going to win.” I think where it got fuzzy is that he is going to have to come up with more details.
And his supporters, when you say that, say, “Wait a second, we don't want to tell the Taliban how we are going to win,” I get that, but you have to at least have some sort of a blueprint beyond -- yes, he said, “we’re going to kill terrorists,” everyone wants to kill terrorists, and we’re going to stop nation building. I think that’s something people can rally around, absolutely. But how you are going to actually do that, he still didn't lay out the details. However, big picture here, it was a leadership moment for him. He stepped up to the plate, big time. [Fox News, The Five, 8/21/17]