They think pulling out of Syria and Afghanistan would be a debacle. They think North Korea cannot be trusted. They think the Islamic State is still a threat to America. They think Russia is bad and NATO is good.
The trouble is their president does not agree.
More than two years into his administration, the disconnect between President Trump and the Republican establishment on foreign policy has rarely been as stark. In recent days, the president’s own advisers and allies have been pushing back, challenging his view of the world and his prescription for its problems.
The growing discontent among Republican national security hawks was most evident on Tuesday when Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader and perhaps Mr. Trump’s most important partner in Congress, effectively rebuked the president by introducing a measure denouncing “a precipitous withdrawal” of American troops from Syria and Afghanistan.
The senator’s repudiation came on the same day that Mr. Trump’s own intelligence chiefs, led by Dan Coats, a former Republican senator, gave Congress a radically different assessment of international threats facing the United States from the president’s own. They warned about fresh Russian efforts to interfere in American elections, predicted that North Korea would never agree to give up its nuclear weapons and made clear that the Islamic State is still plotting attacks around the world. They made no mention of Mr. Trump’s top security priority of building a wall along the southwestern border. [Continue reading…]
President Trump lashed out at U.S. intelligence officials Wednesday, calling them “extremely passive and naive” about the “dangers of Iran” and pushing back on their assessments of the Islamic State and North Korea during a congressional hearing.
In tweets, Trump offered what amounted to a rebuttal of testimony on global threats provided to the Senate on Tuesday by a panel of top officials from his administration.
Trump was most pointed in his pushback on the assessment of Iran. During testimony, officials said that Iran was not trying to build a nuclear weapon and was in compliance with an agreement forged during the Obama administration from which Trump subsequently withdrew the United States.
“The Intelligence people seem to be extremely passive and naive when it comes to the dangers of Iran. They are wrong!” Trump wrote. “They are testing Rockets (last week) and more, and are coming very close to the edge. There economy is now crashing, which is the only thing holding them back. Be careful of Iran.”
Trump added: “Perhaps Intelligence should go back to school!” [Continue reading…]