Nothing President Donald Trump does is enough to please Fox News Sunday anchor Chris Wallace — and this week, Wallace hammered that point home yet again.
According to Breitbart, Wallace asserted Sunday that the recent airstrikes ordered by President Trump to take out top Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani “dramatically” escalated tensions between Iran and the U.S. and left America open to potentially devastating retaliation.
“A dramatic escalation”
The Fox anchor hosted a panel of guests Sunday that included Michael Anton, a former spokesman for the Trump administration’s National Security Council (NSC). Wallace asked him: “Does the decision to escalate dramatically — and I think we would agree it was a dramatic escalation to take out Qassem Soleimani — does it make the U.S. more safe or less safe?”
The Fox host went on: “And if Iran decides to keep its promise to retaliate dramatically, does the Trump administration have a strategy?”
For his part, Anton pushed back. “I don’t know that I necessarily agree that this was a dramatic escalation,” he said, according to Breitbart. “You could interpret it as a justified retaliation for all kinds of things…that Iran has been doing without much of a response.”
The former Trump adviser went on to note that Iran has a history of acting provocatively without consequence and then going into “turtle mode” whenever they do receive pushback, a trend that Anton predicted could well continue in this instance; Iran, Anton says, has become “overconfident” in the wake of a lack of retaliation.
“To some extent that overconfidence is exemplified by the fact that Soleimani went right into Iraq and the airport completely confident that he owns the place and that nothing would happen to him,” Anton said. “So I think this stuns the regime and is as likely as not to maybe make the regime retreat a little bit and lick its wounds and reassess.”
“I am totally stunned”
Later in the segment, Wallace spoke with Josh Holmes, a former aide to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). Referencing the recently announced deployment of additional troops to the Middle East, Wallace asked Holmes if that stood in contrast to President Trump’s oft-repeated promise to lessen the U.S. military presence in the region.
Holmes responded that the move isn’t “inconsistent at all;” the U.S.’s overall footprint in the region can be reduced while still responding to provocations as necessary, Holmes said.
“I am totally stunned at the notion that somehow America is the one that is bringing this to a higher escalation level,” he added, according to RealClearPolitics.
Indeed, the president’s critics like Wallace can try to blame Trump for escalating the decades-long simmering conflict with Iran, but any fair view of the situation has to take into account the series of provocative actions made by Iran, often without suffering any retaliation.
Trump was right to strike on Soleimani — and anyone who disagrees is simply ignoring the truth.