Syria: Trump vs. Pence

Trump hasn’t spoken to his VP about Syria?

Last nights debate had ample moments that had American voters scratching their heads. Not since the likes of Andrew Jackson have we seen this level of aggression, where a candidate actually threatened to throw their oppenent in jail if elected. This came just 72 hours after tapes surfaced of Donald Trump’s ‘locker room talk’ where he described on a hot mic that assaulting women’s private parts was acceptable if you are a star.

After Trump apologized for the first time in the campaign, his answer was not to get back to the message of how he can build this country back up, instead he decided to sink even lower and invited a group of women who accused President Bill Clinton of sexual assault over the past 4 decades to sit in the venue as he debated President Clinton’s wife for the highest office in the land. When asked about his lewd comments, Trump’s plan was simply to say he wasn't proud of it and immediately pivot to ISIS and how they are chopping people’s heads off while comparing them to medieval times, a period of time ironically where women had literally no rights.

Trump went on- “Yes, I’m very embarrassed by it. I hate it. But it’s locker room talk, and it’s one of those things. I will knock the hell out of ISIS. We’re going to defeat ISIS. ISIS happened a number of years ago in a vacuum that was left because of bad judgment. And I will tell you, I will take care of ISIS.” But does Trump have any idea what caused this vacuum and gave ISIS the ability to grow?

When one moderator, ABC’s Martha Raddatz repeated a question to Trump about what he would do about the crisis in Aleppo, Syria- where Russian war planes are assisting the tyrant and war criminal President Assad bomb civilians in the eastern part of the city- she reminded him that his running-mate Mike Pence said that provocations by Russia need to be met with American strength and that if Russia continues to be involved in air strikes along with the Syrian government forces of Assad, the United States of America should be prepared to use military force to strike the military targets of the Assad regime. Trumps response was “OK. He and I haven’t spoken, and I disagree. I disagree.”

Try and forget for a second the seriousness of a Presidential candidate disagreeing with his running mate on a major issue in front of millions of people less than a month before the election, the fact that the two HAVEN’T SPOKEN about the crisis in Syria tells you all you need to know about the preparation of this ticket. Trump named Pence his VP in the middle of July and they have not had one conversation about Aleppo? Not one candid talk on each other’s feelings about the regime and the fact that Russia is promoting their own agenda while millions flee and hundreds of thousands of civilians are being slaughtered? No discussion on how to stop barrel bombs from being dropped on neighborhoods where children dying have become a daily statistic and an afterthought on American newscasts?

No, instead Trump said he disagreed with his running-mate’s position essentially taking the side of a the Syrian regime and Russia. VP candidate Mike Pence should also share some of the blame here with his naive, hopeful future boss. In the last 3 months Pence has gone from a relatively unknown politician to the frontrunner for the GOP nomination in 2020. Trump might be difficult to discuss serious topics with, but it doesn’t give Pence a pass that he never brought up Syria with the man who’s name is in front of his at the ballot box this November.

After Raddatz gave Trump a chance back track his comment, she asked him what he thought would happen if Aleppo fails? Backed into a corner and trying desperately to avoid a Gary Johnson ‘What is Aleppo?’ type gaffe, Trump answered — “I think that it basically has fallen. OK? It basically has fallen. Let me tell you something. You take a look at Mosul. The biggest problem I have with the stupidity of our foreign policy, we have Mosul. They think a lot of the ISIS leaders are in Mosul.” The thing is Mosul is not even in Syria, its in Iraq, where ISIS forces are struggling and have lost almost half of their territory over the past year. The thing is Donald that Aleppo has not fallen yet. Instead Russian-backed attacks by the Syrian government has turned Aleppo into an unlivable war zone where civilians need to choose between trying to survive the nightmare or fleeing out of the country as soon as possible.

The fact is he just did not know any of this information. For a year and a half now he has been flying around the US with his own plane from one campaign event to the other and never took that time to sit down with policy experts and actually learn the job. At least the American people can rest comfortably in the fact that Trump himself said “I know more about ISIS than the Generals”. If he knew 1/10th of what the generals know about ISIS he would have said that ISIS is dangerous, but they are a secondary issue in Syria compared to the global chess game being played between the US and Russia at the expense of millions of Syrian civilians who don’t know how they will live out the remainder of their lives.

Instead there was more rhetoric of the ‘dangers’ of letting more Syrian refugees into the US, whom have never once committed an act of terror on this soil. While Secretary Clinton verbalized her plan to properly vet the refugees and discussed the responsibility of the US in sharing the onslaught of migrants pouring out of the Middle East, Trump continued his stance of closing boarders and not letting families have a chance to create new lives for themselves in this so-called land of opportunity where he is treating the office of the President as a platform to further his own brand.