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Westlake Legal Group > Posts tagged "franklin graham"

Graham on Syria withdrawal: Trump’s “pre-9/11 mentality” will own the return of ISIS and slaughter of the Kurds

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Lindsey Graham won’t let the Syria withdrawal proceed without a fight — and on Donald Trump’s favorite morning-show turf. Trump’s key ally in the upcoming impeachment fight appeared earlier on Fox & Friends, telling an equally unhappy Brian Kilmeade that Trump had a “pre-9/11 mentality” similar to Barack Obama’s, and just like Obama, Trump would end up owning a resurgence of ISIS in the region following this bug-out. Graham wants Trump to reverse himself again and get back to the safe-zone operation that kept the Kurds separated from the border with Turkey:

“That’s a pre-9/11 mentality that the Middle East is no concern to us,” Graham told Fox News. “I hope President Trump’s right. I hope we can turn the fight against ISIS over to Turkey. I hope that Turkey, when they go into Syria, they won’t slaughter the Kurds… If [Trump] follows through with this, it’d be the biggest mistake of his presidency.”

He claimed that if Trump doesn’t continue with safe zone border patrols, ISIS will fill the void and the fault will lie squarely with the Trump administration.

“I would argue for him to go back to the status quo,” Graham said. “The safe zones were working. Patrolling with Turkey and international forces to protect the Kurds and Turkey is the way to go. If we pull out, the Kurds are in a world of hurt and ISIS comes back, and President Trump will own it.”

Kilmeade’s comments were even more scathing. “General Rand Paul was pleased,” Kilmeade snarked, although Graham insisted that Paul wasn’t the issue. Shortly after, Kilmeade declared more seriously, “Don’t say you’re a friend of Israel and allow them to be surrounded by Iran, because that’s exactly what’s going to happen.” While Graham tried to interject, Kilmeade added, “You might as well take out of your speech that you defeated the caliphate — because it’s coming right back.”

Tough stuff on what has been the friendliest venue for Trump short of Hannity in prime time. Graham’s hardly alone on this, either. The Hill collected more responses from Trump’s allies on Capitol Hill, and it’s far from complimentary:

Trump’s decision, seen as enabling Turkey to go after Kurds in Syria, was lambasted by Trump loyalists such as Rep. Liz Cheney (Wyo.), the third-ranking House GOP leader, and Republicans who have differed with the president on policies, such as Sen. Mitt Romney (Utah).

Cheney called the decision a “catastrophic mistake” and Romney characterized it as a “betrayal” of Kurdish allies that would show “America is an unreliable ally.”

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), one of Trump’s most ardent defenders in the Senate, said he agrees with the president that the United States should not be the world’s policeman but warned that “abandoning the Kurds” would send a “terrible signal to America’s allies and adversaries” and would be “unconscionable.

The broad-based backlash left some in the GOP hoping Trump would reverse himself, something Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) on Tuesday raised as a possibility.

“I understand he’s reconsidering. I do not think we should abandon the Kurds,” he told a reporter for Politico.

Er … nope:

Senate Republicans have “found their voices” against Trump on this policy, the New York Times reported last night, even if it hasn’t yet crossed over to the impeachment fight:

He and other Republicans joined Democrats in saying that the move could potentially clear the way for a Turkish offensive against Kurdish fighters who have helped the United States root out the Islamic State. Mr. Graham also delivered what could be considered the ultimate insult to Mr. Trump: comparing his Syria policy to that of his predecessor, Barack Obama.

When it comes to foreign policy, many senators have spent considerable time developing their expertise, making repeated trips to the Middle East and other hot spots and becoming deeply invested in their positions. They feel confident expressing their opinion, even when it is quite contrary to Mr. Trump’s.

“Many of us have been dealing with this for a decade or two decades, and I think there are a lot of visits to the area and a lot of discussions that stand behind our views on these issues,” said Senator Roy Blunt, Republican of Missouri, who had previously counseled the White House on the necessity of maintaining forces in Syria. “This is an area where it has been a consistent concern that leaving those places would create bigger problems than staying.”

And the damage might go even farther, into Trump’s core constituency:

Needless to say, this was a strange time for Trump to pick a foreign policy fight with his own party, especially in the chamber that will have to handle articles of impeachment, if the House approves them. This decision alone might not be enough for Republicans to commit electoral hara kiri by going along on removal, but the arbitrary manner in which Trump made this decision and his lack of consultation with his allies on Capitol Hill might leave them less than enthusiastic about his defense, as I note in my column at The Week:

If anything, Trump chose the wrong theater of war from which to retreat. While America’s strategic interests in Afghanistan are now limited at best, this isn’t the case in Syria, where the U.S. has critical strategic interests, especially in containing Iran. The Kurds in Syria are not just the front line against ISIS, but also our partners in monitoring and frustrating Iranian-backed Shi’ite militias in the region. Iran’s partnership with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad presents a considerable threat to Sunni Arab nations including Saudi Arabia, which just suffered a missile attack that originated in Iran.

Add to that the existential threat that Iranian hegemony represents to our ally Israel, and it’s easy to see why Trump’s near-whimsical decision rattled Republicans, especially in the Senate. …

This decision alone won’t convince 20 Republicans to cross the aisle on a removal vote, of course. In part, that is because Trump tried this once before, and his impatience in Syria was well known. However, the seemingly capricious manner in which this decision was made and the damage it does to American credibility with needed partners in the fight against radical Islamist terrorism cannot help but raise doubts about Trump’s leadership with the very people Trump needs to help him preserve it.

This is a moment in which Trump should be shoring up his political alliances, not severing them in pursuit of a highly questionable policy that puts our regional allies under threat and our counterterrorism partners at risk of annihilation.

The post Graham on Syria withdrawal: Trump’s “pre-9/11 mentality” will own the return of ISIS and slaughter of the Kurds appeared first on Hot Air.

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Franklin Graham: Pete Buttigieg shouldn’t be flaunting his sin

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Any indignation on Buttigieg’s behalf here would feel like overkill. The spectacle of one of Trump’s most loyal evangelical apologists lecturing about politicians flaunting their sin is so absurd that it’s essentially self-refuting.

“I’m not knocking for Buttigieg for sinning,” Graham would presumably say. “We’re all sinners. I’m knocking him for flaunting his sin.” But Trump flaunts his sin too. His apartment in Trump Tower is decked out like Versailles, a monument to gluttony. His sexual boasting over the years contributed to the alpha-male image that helped win him the presidency. What else was his conversation with Billy Bush on the “Access Hollywood” tape except “flaunting sin”? We’re talking about a guy who allegedly posed as his own publicist when he dialed up the tabloids in New York to whisper to them about how much he was getting laid. There may be no single person more synonymous with “the good life” in the popular imagination since the 1980s than Donald Trump. He’s practically a national spokesman for greed, right down to continuing to receive revenue from his businesses while he holds the most powerful job in the world.

Even if, for some reason, Graham wanted to limit his point to marriage, Trump’s as compromised as Buttigieg is. David French:

Trump married a woman, then married his mistress, then married a third woman, then had an affair with a porn star while that third wife was pregnant with his child. Yet Graham says, “God put him” in the presidency and we need to “get behind him and support him.”

Meanwhile, here’s how Buttigieg talks about his marriage to a man:

“Being married to Chasten has made me a better human being because it has made me more compassionate, more understanding, more self-aware and more decent. My marriage to Chasten has made me a better man. And yes, Mr. Vice President, it has moved me closer to God.”

Both men are sinful according to scripture but which at least seems to view his marriage as a sacrament? And remember, although all sins can be forgiven, Trump famously said more than once on the trail as a candidate that he didn’t think he had anything to repent for. In 2015 he told an audience that he didn’t think he’d ever asked God for forgiveness. A year later, wiser to how he’s supposed to answer questions about faith, he allowed that “I will be asking for forgiveness, but hopefully I won’t have to be asking for much forgiveness.”

We could go on and on with this, but that’s what I mean by overkill. It’s so patently farcical at this point that a Trump ally would think to tut-tut others for flaunting their sin while looking the other way at a man whose favorite Bible verse is “an eye for an eye” that it really requires no illustration. There’s even something vaguely pro forma about Graham’s tweet, as if he couldn’t muster true outrage about America’s acceptance of a married gay candidate after having turned a blind eye to Trump so many times but felt obliged to at least check the box. In fact, whatever their feelings about the morality of gay marriage, many American Christians support its legalization. Given the sort of impression Buttigieg has made and the way he talks about his own marriage, I’d guess more will support it by the time the campaign’s over.

As chance would have it, WaPo’s Monkey Cage blog has data out today from a recent survey attempting to measure just how far Trump-supporting evangelicals have lowered their moral standards to accommodate him. It’s been known for awhile that their feelings changed sharply in 2016 when asked if they thought a politician who behaved immorally in private could still behave ethically in his public duties. In 2011, 60 percent said no; by 2016, when they had embraced Trump, just 20 percent said the same. The new study sought to drill down on that by asking the same question but using the names of different politicians. How would evangelicals respond when the question about private immorality and public ethics was preceded by a reference to Bill Clinton (“Many Bill Clinton supporters have argued…”) versus when it was preceded by a reference to Trump?

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Prompt white evangelicals with a mention of Clinton and more than a quarter still say that public ethics requires private morality. Prompt them with a mention of Trump and just six percent do. And that’s all white evangelicals, not specifically Republican evangelicals. Among the latter group, 36 percent say you can’t be publicly ethical but privately immoral when Clinton is invoked. When Trump is invoked, the number falls to … two percent. Says French of evangelical Trump apologists putting party over faith, “they’ve seared the consciences of the culture and the church, and granted their secular opponents all the ammunition necessary to question our sincerity as believers.” But it’s actually worse than that per the Monkey Cage analysis, which notes that even Clinton did better on the private immorality/public ethics question with evangelicals than he did years ago. That is, this isn’t a matter of evangelicals having lowered their moral standards for Trump but for no one else. Thanks to Trump’s influence they’ve lowered them for everyone, Bill Clinton included, with Trump simply benefiting the most.

In lieu of an exit question, go read Nancy French (David’s wife) in WaPo today recounting the very serious indignation indeed that evangelical leaders evinced towards Mitt Romney in 2011 because, unlike Trump, he didn’t pretend to be a member of their faith. Even Romney’s critics concede that he’s a moral man whose personal code of conduct is worthy of admiration, yet top evangelicals had a bigger problem nominating a Mormon than they did nominating the golden (well, orange) calf.

The post Franklin Graham: Pete Buttigieg shouldn’t be flaunting his sin appeared first on Hot Air.

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