On Friday morning, CNN’s Fareed Zakaria solemnly declared that Donald Trump’s airstrikes in Syria had irrevocably transformed him.
“Donald Trump became president of the United States [last night],” Zakaria intoned. “Candidate Trump had said that he would never get involved in the Syrian civil war...President Trump recognized that the president of the United States does have to act to enforce international norms, does have to have this broader moral and political purpose.”
Zakaria was not alone in his sudden praise of Trump. As ThinkProgress noted, Washington Post columnist David Ignatius gushed that the president had restored “the credibility of American power” by bombing a Syrian airfield. The New York Times bafflingly said Trump’s “heart came first” in ordering the attack, so moved was he by the suffering of Syrian children. (Not enough to allow them into the United States, of course; the Times later scrapped its initial headline.)
These sentiments—that presidents only become presidents when they cause destruction or death—may seem familiar to you. (Zakaria even said that Trump’s bypassing of Congress was extra-presidential.) That’s because it’s literally the same thing pundits were saying back when Trump addressed Congress and praised the widow of a Navy SEAL who died in the notoriously disastrous, Trump-authorized raid in Yemen.
“Tonight, Donald Trump became president of the United States,” Fox News host Chris Wallace said that night.
“He became president of the United States in that moment, period,” CNN’s Van Jones infamously opined. “That was one of the most extraordinary moments you have ever seen in American politics. If he finds a way to do that over and over again, he’s going to be there for eight years.”
It’s not clear how many people died in Thursday’s attack. Syrians claim that 16 people were killed, but that claim has not been independently verified. What’s definitely true is that the escalation of war inevitably causes death. However many people died on Thursday, the fallout will be lethal.
This all raises three questions:
- How many times is Donald Trump going to suddenly “become the president” by dropping bombs and getting people killed in other countries? (1A: If he’s just becoming president now, what the hell was he doing on Inauguration Day?)
- How many times can war-craving pundits and media outlets prove themselves so pathetically in thrall to this nonsense?
- What the fuck is wrong with you people?