The “Fox & Friends” morning crew had a spirited exchange over President Donald Trump’s decision to call off a U.S. military strike on multiple targets in Iran as retaliation for the downing of a $130 million unmanned U.S. drone — a decision made with planes in the air, according to co-host Brian Kilmeade.
By far the most hawkish of the three, Kilmeade was not happy with the decision.
“How much are they going to push us?” he asked of Iran. “They are bombing the commercial vessels of our allies. They just shot down a drone we didn’t think they were capable, according to some reports, of shooting down. We were in international, their explanation is farcical. People have to wonder. What’s it going to take for America to actually act?”
Kilmeade played a clip of David Perkins, a retired four-star general in Israel, saying sanctions hurt the Persian Gulf country and that there are “other ways we can warn them.”
“We have got to make sure we’re not playing checkers with the Iranians,” Perkins says in the clip. “They are great at checkers. You know, change one piece for another. We have got to play chess.”
Co-host Ainsley Earhardt pointed out the former general said it’s not like the U.S. is not acting if there are no military strikes.
“He said they expect us to hit back immediately and it’s not to our advantage to do it,” she said. “He is a general. These are the experts.”
Earhardt made a good point in adding, “There is a reason [Trump] pulled back at 7:30. Maybe it was to get Iran’s attention, maybe it was allies calling and saying if you don’t strike we will help in this matter.”
Co-host Steve Doocy chimed in to say that Senator Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said there will be a measured response.
“The big question is what would that be?” he said.
There was an exchange over sanctions, but Kilmeade was buying it.
“The sanctions have been in place before,” he said. “This is Iran’s response to the sanctions. Where is America’s response to Iran’s belligerence.”
Earhardt reminded them that the president can still “do something tomorrow or in two weeks.”
She also reminded them to let the experts handle the matter and not rush to judgement when people don’t know what’s happening behind the scenes.
“I will say this,” Kilmeade replied. “Part of the story is that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, former director of the CIA, military guy for years and graduate of West Point, was for a strike.
“John Bolton, with as much experience as anyone on Capitol Hill, was for a strike,” he continued. “But the Pentagon, without a full-time Secretary of Defense, were the ones who pushed back because they’re worried about the next wave and what the response is. And the result was somehow, someway — we will get the answer shortly, I hope — the President decided to pull back with the planes in the air.”
Doocy ran a clip of Fred Fleitz, Bolton’s former chief of staff, saying that the president is handling this exactly the right way.
“The president has responded with restraint,” Fleitz said. “He’s given an opportunity to deescalate the situation. I think he handled it right today.”
Again, Kilmeade pushed back, saying non-action can be considered a “weakness.” He also predicted more attacks from Iran.
“I think by not doing something he is doing something,” he said. “There are consequences for non-action and there’s consequences for action. In the Middle East a non-action is looked at in many cases as weakness. And the one quote that sticks out with me — and it still holds up today — Thomas Jefferson to John Adams, he said, ‘If you don’t punish the first insult, more are sure to follow.’ What we have seen is we didn’t punish the first insult and more are to follow.”
Doocy countered by saying Trump did take action in ordering the strike — even if he then nixed it.
“The president is trying to dial down the tensions, at the same time he has made it very clear I have the stuff right here we can go and blow you up immediately.”
What are you thoughts? Should President Trump have followed through on the ordered attack? Or did he do the right thing in taking a more measured approach? Was his decision-making influenced by the fact that he ran on getting the U.S. out of never-ending wars in the Middle East?
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