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Zakaria Slams Liberals for ‘Trump Derangement Syndrome,’ Defends Syria Airstrikes

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Newsbusters
April 17, 2017

On Sunday’s Fareed Zakaria GPS on CNN, host Zakaria began his show by admonishing liberals for reflexively opposing anything President Donald Trump does — calling it “Trump Derangement Syndrome” — as he responded to those who have attacked the CNN host for supporting Trump’s airstrikes in Syria.

As Zakaria recalled his own history of condemning Trump on many fronts, he warned liberals against being more concerned about doing what hurts Trump than what is best for America, and pointed out that Trump’s actions were consistent with former President Barack Obama’s stated policy of trying to prevent the use of chemical weapons in Syria.

Zakaria began the show with his regular “Fareed’s Take” segment:

I didn’t really believe there was such a thing as “Trump Derangement Syndrome” — hatred of Donald Trump that is so intense that it impairs people’s judgment. It’s not that I didn’t notice the harsh, unyielding language against Trump — I’ve said a few tough things myself — but, throughout the campaign, Trump seemed to do things that justified it.

After recounting his belief that, for a considerable time, President Trump did not improve even after taking office, the CNN host added:

And then came the strike against Syria. On that issue, Trump appears to have listened carefully to his senior national security professionals, reversed his earlier positions, chosen a calibrated response, and acted swiftly.

After recalling that he spoke in support of Trump’s actions on Syria, calling it “presidential,” Zakaria then turned to the criticism he has received from liberals:

From the response on the left, you would have thought that I just endorsed Donald Trump for Pope. Otherwise thoughtful columnists described my views as “nonsense.” One journalist declared on television, “If that guy could have sex with this cruise missile attack, I think he would do it.” A gaggle of former Obama speech writers discussed how my comments were perhaps the stupidest of any given on the subject.

The CNN host then introduced a soundbite of President Obama from 2013:

ZAKARIA: White House speech writers must have written the lines that President Barack Obama spoke on September 27, 2013, announcing the UN deal in which the Syrian regime agreed to give up its chemical weapons stockpile.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: This binding resolution will ensure that the Assad regime must keep its commitments or face consequences, will have to be vigilant about following through.

He then further bolstered Trump as he added:

In other words, the Trump administration watched a violation of Obama’s 2013 deal and enforced it in precisely the manner that Obama implied — which is why virtually every major Obama foreign policy official from Hillary Clinton to Thomas Donilon to Leon Panetta to David Petraeus has supported the Trump administration’s action as did the U.S. allies in the region and beyond.

Zakaria then suggested President Obama might have done the same thing as President Trump under the current circumstances and called out Obama supporters for having a double standard:

The strikes were discreet, measured, intended to convey a signal, and yet at the same time designed to ensure that the U.S. not descend further into the Syrian civil war. In other words, they were very Obama-like. Two senior Obama officials I spoke with told me that, were Barack Obama still President, he would have likely ordered a strike that was similar if not identical in scope. Presumably those former speech writers would then have used different words to describe the same strikes.

He soon added:

Liberals have to be careful to avoid Trump Derangement Syndrome. If Trump pursues a policy, it cannot axiomatically be wrong, evil and dangerous. In my case, I’ve been pretty tough on Donald Trump. I attacked almost every policy he proposed during his campaign. The week before the election, I called him a “cancer on American democracy” and urged voters to reject him. But they didn’t — he is now President. I believe that my job is to evaluate his policies impartially and explain why, in my view, they are wise or not.

The CNN host took aim at Trump again as he concluded:

Many of Trump’s campaign promises are idiotic and unworkable. It was always likely he would reverse them as he has begun to do this week on several fronts. Those of us who opposed him face an important challenge. We have to ask ourselves: Would we rather see Trump reversing himself or Trump relentlessly pursuing his campaign agenda?

The first option would be good for the country and the world, though it might save Trump from an ignominious fall. The second would be a disaster for all. It raises the quandry: Do we want what’s better for America or what’s worse for Donald Trump?

Below is a complete transcript of the “Fareed’s Take” segment from the Sunday, April 15, Fareed Zakaria GPS on CNN:

FAREED ZAKARIA: I didn’t really believe there was such a thing as “Trump Derangement Syndrome” — hatred of Donald Trump that is so intense that it impairs people’s judgment. It’s not that I didn’t notice the harsh, unyielding language against Trump — I’ve said a few tough things myself — but, throughout the campaign, Trump seemed to do things that justified it.

Once elected, instead of calming down and acting presidential, he continued the stream of petty attacks, exaggerations and lies. His administration seemed marked by chaos and incompetence. And then came the strike against Syria. On that issue, Trump appears to have listened carefully to his senior national security professionals, reversed his earlier positions, chosen a calibrated response, and acted swiftly.

I supported the strike and pointed out in print and on air that Trump was finally being presidential because the action, quote, “seemed to reflect a belated recognition from Trump that he cannot simply put America first, that the President of the United States must act on behalf of broader interests and ideals,” unquote, On the whole, though, I was critical of Trump’s larger Syria policy, describing it as “incoherent.”

From the response on the left, you would have thought that I just endorsed Donald Trump for Pope. Otherwise thoughtful columnists described my views as “nonsense.” One journalist declared on television, “If that guy could have sex with this cruise missile attack, I think he would do it.” A gaggle of former Obama speech writers discussed how my comments were perhaps the stupidest of any given on the subject.

White House speech writers must have written the lines that President Barack Obama spoke on September 27, 2013, announcing the UN deal in which the Syrian regime agreed to give up its chemical weapons stockpile.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: This binding resolution will ensure that the Assad regime must keep its commitments or face consequences, will have to be vigilant about following through.

ZAKARIA: In other words, the Trump administration watched a violation of Obama’s 2013 deal and enforced it in precisely the manner that Obama implied — which is why virtually every major Obama foreign policy official from Hillary Clinton to Thomas Donelon to Leon Panetta to David Petraeus has supported the Trump administration’s action as did the U.S. allies in the region and beyond.

The strikes were discreet, measured, intended to convey a signal, and yet at the same time designed to ensure that the U.S. not descend further into the Syrian civil war. In other words, they were very Obama-like. Two senior Obama officials I spoke with told me that, were Barack Obama still President, he would have likely ordered a strike that was similar if not identical in scope. Presumably those former speech writers would then have used different words to describe the same strikes.

Conservatives seem to understand Trump’s about-face better than liberals. Many of Trump’s strongest backers are utterly distraught by his embrace of Obama’s policies. Andrew McCarthy wrote in National Review: “When it came to foreign policy, I was worried that the 2016 election would be a case of Clinton delivering the third Obama term. Instead, we have Trump giving us the third Clinton term.”

Liberals have to be careful to avoid Trump Derangement Syndrome. If Trump pursues a policy, it cannot axiomatically be wrong, evil and dangerous. In my case, I’ve been pretty tough on Donald Trump. I attacked almost every policy he proposed during his campaign. The week before the election, I called him a “cancer on American democracy” and urged voters to reject him. But they didn’t — he is now President. I believe that my job is to evaluate his policies impartially and explain why, in my view, they are wise or not.

Many of Trump’s campaign promises are idiotic and unworkable. It was always likely he would reverse them as he has begun to do this week on several fronts. Those of us who opposed him face an important challenge. We have to ask ourselves: Would we rather see Trump reversing himself or Trump relentlessly pursuing his campaign agenda?

The first option would be good for the country and the world, though it might save Trump from an ignominious fall. The second would be a disaster for all. It raises the quandry: Do we want what’s better for America or what’s worse for Donald Trump?

This article was posted: Monday, April 17, 2017 at 6:36 am





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