What do Trump and Clinton have to say about fighting terrorism?
On Monday morning, Donald Trump and Sarah Huckabee Sanders, a senior advisor to the Trump campaign, gave separate interviews on Fox News in the wake of multiple attacks in New York, New Jersey, and Minnesota. Both were asked repeatedly by Fox anchors to clarify specifically what policies a Trump administration would implement to prevent additional terrorist attacks.
Each had numerous opportunities on a Trump-friendly network to answer the most simple of questions: What would President Trump do?
Their answers? “Get tough”, “take this seriously”, and “knock the hell out of them”.
Consider for a moment that these are the self-articulated policy proposals of a presidential candidate with no political experience — except these aren’t policies.
While Trump and Sanders whiffed on Fox News’ softball questions, Hillary Clinton gave a press conference outlining her own plans to combat terrorism. The contrast is not only embarrassing but also incredibly telling of each candidate’s knowledge of foreign affairs.
To recap, here are the two candidates’ word-for-word policy proposals in response to last weekend’s terror attacks:
Hillary Clinton’s Policies:
- Launch an intelligence surge to help identify and thwart attacks before they can be carried out
- Work closely with Silicon Valley and other partners to counter terrorist propaganda and recruitment efforts online
- Smash ISIS’s strongholds with an accelerated coalition air campaign
- Increase support for Arab and Kurdish forces on the ground
- Make intense diplomatic efforts in Syria, Iraq, and across the region
- Work closely with our allies and partners
Donald Trump’s Policies:
- Get tough
- Say “radical Islamic terrorism”
- Do something extremely tough
- Hit them much harder over there
- Take this seriously
- Start calling our enemies by what they are
- Knock the hell out of them
Fox News would have you believe that when it comes to national security, Donald Trump is the obvious choice. Really?
By no means do you have to agree with Clinton’s policies. Perhaps you believe in putting boots on the ground, bombing Mosul, or withdrawing from the Middle East altogether.
But one of these campaigns is putting forth real, debatable policies on counter-terrorism — the other is not. Even his strongly-worded press statements that point the finger at Obama and Clinton do not entail a single, tangible proposal for defeating terrorism.
Trump has long insisted that he has a real plan to defeat ISIS, so let’s start holding him accountable:
Where is there any inkling that Trump has a shred of experience on national security, let alone foreign policy? Why should our Armed Forces be subject to the command of a man whose shameless demagoguery suggests a total lack of understanding of counter-terrorism?
The next time you hear Donald Trump speak on ISIS at a scripted rally, count the number of times you hear him use the words “tough”, “smart”, and “radical Islamic terrorism” — now compare this to the number of policies he puts forth.
As a Republican president once famously remarked, “Speak softly, and carry a big stick; you will go far.”