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February 19, 2017 – Holding President Trump Accountable for “soundly and quickly defeating ISIS.”

November 13, 2016

A date certain

feb20-2017-isisplan-due

February 19, 2017 will provide an early indication that will tell us if Trump has a chance of actually delivering on his campaign promises, or if he became president by pandering to a segment of the electorate desperate for simple solutions to complex problems. On February 19, Trump will have been in office for 30 days and according to him, his top generals will have delivered to him by then “a plan for soundly and quickly defeating ISIS.”

“We are going to convene my top generals and give them a simple instruction.
They’ll have 30 days to submit to the Oval Office a plan for soundly and quickly defeating ISIS.”

Democrats and Republicans seek accountability

If nothing else, Trump’s winning the race for president established him as the unparalleled master of reading and reflecting the emotions of his base. Regardless of whether you love Trump, or hate him, there is wide-spread consensus that he never really offered substantive policies to support his emotion-based pandering and demagoguing.

Now that Trump will become president it is incumbent upon all of us to hold him accountable for the statements that swept him into office. Trump supporters will want tangible evidence that Trump is making America great again – whatever that means. And Trump detractors will want to diminish his credibility and degrade his effectiveness by exposing him as an ill-informed huckster, albeit one with finely honed manipulative skills.

Trump’s meandering ISIS “strategy” lands on a 30-day plan

Over the last year Trump presented a meandering approach to dealing with ISIS that ranged widely from sending in 30,000 more American troops[1] to using nuclear weapons.[2] And although Trump claimed he knew more about ISIS than the generals[3], he has given us a date certain for when those same generals must present him with a definitive plan to defeat ISIS.

At a rally in Greenville, North Carolina on September, Trump said without hesitation, but much bravado, that “We are going to convene my top generals and give them a simple instruction. They’ll have 30 days to submit to the Oval Office a plan for soundly and quickly defeating ISIS.” And the crowd went wild.

We’ll have an indication on February 19 if the crowd’s euphoria was justified, or if they were duped into believing that complex, global problems could be solved in 30 days. I wish there were simple fixes to hard problems, but that’s not the way it works. It is not reality – except on TV.

[1]  “Trump is Calling for 30,000 Troops. Would that Defeat ISIS?” CNN, March 11, 2016. Accessed March 16, 2016. Available at:  http://www.cnn.com/2016/03/11/politics/donald-trump-30000-troops-isis/.

[2] “We’re going to hit them and we’re going to hit them hard. I’m talking about a surgical strike on these ISIS stronghold cities using Trident missiles.” http://www.nbcnews.com/meet-the-press/meet-press-transcript-august-9-2015-n408516.

[3] “I know more about ISIS than the generals do. Believe me”, Fort Dodge, Iowa speech, http://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/news/elections/presidential/caucus/2015/11/13/trump-his-own-words-highlights-95-minute-rant/75729070/

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