On the heels of Trump’s return from vacation, he will address the nation at 9 p.m. Monday night to announce what is largely expected to be a surge of as many as 4,000 new troops into Afghanistan. This move, however, would come in sharp contrast to Trump’s statements dating back to 2011, in which he staunchly opposed military intervention of any kind in that country.
When will we stop wasting our money on rebuilding Afghanistan? We must rebuild our country first.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 7, 2011
It is time to get out of Afghanistan. We are building roads and schools for people that hate us. It is not in our national interests.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 27, 2012
China is getting minerals from Afghanistan http://t.co/uNxQYQWi We are getting our troops killed by the Afghani govt't. Time to get out.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 29, 2012
Why are we continuing to train these Afghanis who then shoot our soldiers in the back? Afghanistan is a complete waste. Time to come home!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 21, 2012
Let’s get out of Afghanistan. Our troops are being killed by the Afghanis we train and we waste billions there. Nonsense! Rebuild the USA.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 11, 2013
We should leave Afghanistan immediately. No more wasted lives. If we have to go back in, we go in hard & quick. Rebuild the US first.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 1, 2013
As late as 2016, during his campaign, Trump even said, “Places like Afghanistan are safer than some of our inner cities,” reinforcing his longstanding stance of nonintervention in the country.
A likely justification for this abrupt change of heart is the fact that Trump is looking for a distraction upon returning from what is believed to be the most damaging week of his presidency. The President’s failure to condemn white supremacists and neo-Nazis at two separate rallies – in Charlottesville, Virginia and Boston, Massachusetts – has upended the West Wing and led to a slew of high-profile criticisms.
All he had to do was simply disavow the white supremacists marching at the white supremacy rally in Charlottesville, Virginia whose abhorrent behavior ultimately left 32-year-old Heather Heyer dead when a deranged neo-Nazi plowed his car into a group of counterprotestors. Or the dismal 20 white supremacists who showed up in Boston, only to be outnumbered by 40,000 counterprotestors. Instead, the President blamed the violence on “both sides” in Charlottesville and labeled the largely peaceful counterprotestors as “anti police agitators” in Boston.
Looks like many anti-police agitators in Boston. Police are looking tough and smart! Thank you.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 19, 2017
If Trump does indeed announce the troops surge as expected, not only will it show that his “convictions” are tenuous at best, but that he is willing to sacrifice American lives to distract from a political scandal that was brought about completely on his own volition while pandering to the most racist in his base. The jury is still out on how this could possibly “Make America Safe Again.”
Brian Tyler Cohen is a political writer, actor, and comedy sketch director. He graduated from Lehigh University with a dual degree in English and Business. He currently lives in Los Angeles.