On CNN, Retired Lieutenant General Destroys Trump's ISIS Claims As "Semantically Incorrect" And "Patently Uninformed"
Former Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling: Trump Has "Shown Repeatedly An Inability To Understand This As A Complex Issue"
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From the August 12 edition of CNN's New Day:
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CHRIS CUOMO (CO-HOST): Jeffrey, my brother, before you launch into a very pained defense of Donald Trump, I must tell you --
JEFFREY LORD: No pain at all.
CUOMO: He's watching the show. Good morning, Mr. Trump. Thank you for watching New Day. And he said that we don't get his sarcasm. That he's being sarcastic here about this, Jeffrey Lord. So which is it? Is he saying, no, they're actually the founders, or is he doing what everybody else would do, which is being sarcastic?
JEFFREY LORD: Chris, let me just say before I depart on my vacation to New York, to Long Island, New Yorkers, as my entire family demonstrates, have a sarcastic sense of humor.
CUOMO: Really? See what I did there?
LORD: Really, Chris, really. Exactly. Exactly right. Chris, I understand you exactly when I hear you talk because you're a New Yorker. I understand Donald Trump. Donald Trump is exactly right about this. He was, to borrow from President Kennedy after the Bay of Pigs, Barack Obama was the responsible officer of the government. He was in charge. It was his decision to remove those troops. It was his decision that launched what is now ISIS. There is no question about it. He and Secretary Clinton were and are the responsible officers of the government for this decision. And I would add --
CUOMO: Why didn't he just say that, Jeffrey? One theory as to why, especially when he said Barack Hussein Obama, was that it was a little bit of a dog-whistle effect. It's a little bit of, let's make our president feel like a traitor, like he was trying to do during the birther movement. What about that whisper?
LORD: Chris, Chris, Chris. A, that's the president's name. I mean, I don't see anything wrong with it. But the point that he's making here -- and frankly, Chris, this is the American left in foreign policy since at least George McGovern. They assured us that if we got out of Vietnam, there would be peace. Instead, there was mass murder. I mean, on and on and on and on this goes. This is the stated position of the Democratic Party, the American left. They got to put this in practice, and now the world is a mess. It is a disaster. And Secretary Clinton, as secretary of state, is responsible for it.
CUOMO: All right. Let's get to the general for some perspective. Now that we've talked about the political byplay here. General, I won't burden you with that. But just for clarity's sake, in 2007, Donald Trump told Wolf Blitzer we should get out of Iraq immediately, get out, declare victory and get out. And he has in the past blamed George Bush for being responsible for ISIS. Now he's saying it's President Obama. What is your take on why ISIS exists today? If you were going to ascribe some blame.
RET. LT. GEN. MARK HERTLING: This gets to the point, Chris. First of all, Mr. Trump is semantically incorrect in describing all this. And secondly, it shows he's patently uninformed about the rift between the Shia and the Sunni, and the governments in the Middle East. He's also shown repeatedly an inability to understand this as a complex issue. That's part of the problem. But finally, going to Jeffrey's point, his ability to communicate. I'm married to a New Yorker too, and, unfortunately, the whole world doesn't come from New York. A leadership requirement is to communicate correctly, and Mr. Trump has failed to do that to others in the world outside of New York. And I'm one of those. But to go to the Shia/Sunni rift, you know, there have been experts on your program and others that talk about who is responsible for the rise of ISIS. It was [Ayman al] Zawahiri primarily in a recent environment, but this goes back decades and even centuries in terms of what has generated this problem. And, you know, you're talking about terrorism that relates back to the '60s, the '70s, the '80s in this part of the world. And, yes, have different politicians, to include President Obama, perhaps contributed to all of this by of their actions? Yes. If Mr. Trump would have said that it would have been a different story. And he was given that option by Hugh Hewitt, as you showed a little while ago, and he refused to take it. Instead, it's a complete slash and disrespect to the president -- another issue that I have with him in terms of his leadership qualities – but it also appeals to a bunch of people that don't really understand how complex this issue is and the number of people like me who have fought against elements like ISIS.
LORD: Chris, if I could just agree with the general on one thing. This problem does go back centuries. On September 11th, I believe, of 1683, Islamic forces were at the gates of Vienna, and saying they were going to behead people and rape the women, etc., etc. trying to take over what was then the gate of the Western world. This has been going on for centuries, which is explicitly why the president's refusal to call it radical Islam and deal with its roots is so troubling.