Malacandra.me

The man with his finger on the button speaks gibberish

The man with his finger on the button speaks gibberish

by digby


It's terrible to watch and hear. It's even more awful to read it. The man's mind is clearly disordered:

MARGARET BRENNAN: I want to ask you about your intelligence leaders who were testifying on Capitol Hill this week. Did you read the report that they presented?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: I did.

MARGARET BRENNAN: And did you - there was some conversation you had because you went on Twitter and you called them naive and told them to go back to school.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Well, I think--

MARGARET BRENNAN: What specifically was wrong about what they said?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: I think- let me just say it wasn't so much a report. It was the questions and answers as the report was submitted and they were asked questions and answers. We've done an incredible job with Syria. When I took over Syria it was infested with ISIS. It was all over the place. And now you have very little ISIS and you have the caliphate almost knocked out. We will be announcing in the not too distant future 100 percent of the caliphate which is the area- the land- the area- 100. We're at 99 percent right now, we'll be at 100. When I took it over it was a disaster. I think we've done a great job with that. At the same time, at a certain point, we want to bring our people back home. If you look at Afghanistan we're going in very soon we'll be going into our 19th year spending 50 billion dollars a year. Now if you go back and look at any of my campaign speeches or rallies, I talked about it all the time.

MARGARET BRENNAN: You did. You've been talking about- and that--

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: --I want to bring people home.

MARGARET BRENNAN: But that's one of the questions here. Is because you have these strongly held convictions and people ask, "Well, why don't the facts influence those opinions, if those facts change?" And- and your director of national intelligence said ISIS still has strongholds in Iraq and Syria--

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: By the way--

MARGARET BRENNAN: --and will launch attacks from there.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: You're going to always have pockets of something. What-- you're going to have people, like the one armed man who blew up a restaurant. You're going to have pockets. But you're not going to keep armies there because you have a few people. Or you even have fairly reasonable numbers of people. We've been there for many, many years. We were supposed to be in Syria for four months. We've been there for years. We have been in Afghanistan for 19 years. And by the way, I've been hitting very hard in Afghanistan and now we're negotiating with the Taliban. We'll see what happens, who knows--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Can you trust the Taliban? Can you actually broker a deal?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Look, whether we should have been there in the first place, that's first question. Second question--

MARGARET BRENNAN: That's where 9/11 was launched from.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: --we've been there for 19 years, almost, we are fighting very well. We're fighting harder than ever before. And I think that they will- I think they're tired and, I think everybody's tired. We got to get out of these endless wars and bring our folks back home. Now, that doesn't mean we're not going to be watching with intelligence. We're going to be watching, and watching closely. North Korea--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Isn't that harder when you don't have troops on the ground?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Well, everything's harder. But, you know you pay a big price for troops on the ground. We're spending hundreds of billions of dollars on military. We're the policemen of the world and we don't--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Because the concern in here by your intelligence chiefs, though, is that you could in that vacuum see a resurgence of ISIS.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Sure.

MARGARET BRENNAN: See a resurgence of terror groups like Al-Qaeda--

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: And you know what we'll do? We'll come back if we have to. We have very fast airplanes, we have very good cargo planes. We can come back very quickly, and I'm not leaving. We have a base in Iraq and the base is a fantastic edifice. I mean I was there recently, and I couldn't believe the money that was spent on these massive runways. And these- I've rarely seen anything like it. And it's there. And we'll be there. And frankly, we're hitting the caliphate from Iraq and as we slowly withdraw from Syria. Now the other thing--

MARGARET BRENNAN: How many troops are still in Syria? When are they coming home?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: 2,000 troops.

MARGARET BRENNAN: When are they coming home?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: They're starting to, as we gain the remainder, the final remainder of the caliphate of the area, they'll be going to our base in Iraq, and ultimately some will be coming home. But we're going to be there and we're going to be staying--

MARGARET BRENNAN: So that's a matter of months?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: We have to protect Israel. We have to protect other things that we have. But we're- yeah, they'll be coming back in a matter of time. Look, we're protecting the world. We're spending more money than anybody's ever spent in history, by a lot. We spent, over the last five years, close to 50 billion dollars a year in Afghanistan. That's more than most countries spend for everything including education, medical, and everything else, other than a few countries.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Is there a scenario where you would keep troops in Afghanistan? A smaller number?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Yes. And I'll leave intelligence there. Real intelligence, by the way. I'll leave intelligence there and if I see nests forming, I'll do something about it. But for us to be spending 51 billion dollars, like last year, or if you average the cost it's- I mean you're talking about numbers that nobody's ever heard of before.

MARGARET BRENNAN: The Senate Republicans voted, the vast majority of them said that they don't support what you're doing. That what you're doing risks national intelligence by a precipitous withdrawal from Syria and Afghanistan. Doesn't that concern you?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: I ran against 17 Republicans. This was a big part of what I was saying, and I won very easily. I think the people out in the world- I think people in our country agree. We've been fighting for 19 years. Somebody said you were precipitously bringing to- precipitously? We've been there for 19 years. I want to fight. I want to win, and we want to bring our great troops back home. I've seen the people. I go to Walter Reed Hospital. I see what happens to people. I see with no legs and no arm- arms. And I've seen also what happens to them up here because they're in this situation, and they come back and they are totally different people-- where the wives and the fathers and the mothers say, "What has happened to my son? What has happened in some cases to my daughter?" It's a terrible thing. We've been there close to 19 years. And it's time. And we'll see what happens with the Taliban. They want peace. They're tired. Everybody's tired. We'd like to have- I don't like endless wars. This war. What we're doing is got to stop at some point.

MARGARET BRENNAN: But you- but you also campaigned saying that, you know, President Obama made a big mistake by telegraphing his military moves. You're telegraphing your retreat.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: I'm not telegraphing anything. No, no, no. There's a difference. When President Obama pulled out of Iraq in theory we had Iraq. In other words, we had Iraq. We never had Syria because President Obama never wanted to violate the red line in the sand. So we never had Syria. I was the one that actually violated the red line when I hit Syria with 59 Tomahawk missiles, if you remember. But President Obama chose not to do that. When he chose not to do that, he showed tremendous weakness. But we didn't have Syria whereas we had Iraq. So when he did what he did in Iraq, which was a mistake. Being in Iraq was a mistake. Okay. Being in Iraq- it was a big mistake to go- one of the greatest mistakes going into the Middle East that our country has ever made. One of the greatest mistakes that we've ever made--

MARGARET BRENNAN: But you want to keep troops there now?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: --but when it was chosen-- well, we spent a fortune on building this incredible base. We might as well keep it. And one of the reasons I want to keep it is because I want to be looking a little bit at Iran because Iran is a real problem.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Whoa, that's news. You're keeping troops in Iraq because you want to be able to strike in Iran?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: No, because I want to be able to watch Iran. All I want to do is be able to watch. We have an unbelievable and expensive military base built in Iraq. It's perfectly situated for looking at all over different parts of the troubled Middle East rather than pulling up. And this is what a lot of people don't understand. We're going to keep watching and we're going to keep seeing and if there's trouble, if somebody is looking to do nuclear weapons or other things, we're going to know it before they do.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So you're going to trust the intelligence that you receive?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: I am going to trust the intelligence that I'm putting there, but I will say this: my intelligence people, if they said in fact that Iran is a wonderful kindergarten, I disagree with them 100 percent. It is a vicious country that kills many people. When you talk about torture and so many other things. And- maybe they'll come back. The country is getting absolutely- when I ended the horrible Iran nuclear deal- it was a horrible deal done by President Obama and John Kerry that didn't know what the hell he was doing. When I ended that deal, Margaret, all of a sudden Iran became a different country. They became- very rapidly- right now they're a country that's in big financial trouble. Let's see what happens.

MARGARET BRENNAN: I want to move on here but I should say your intel chiefs do say Iran's abiding by that nuclear deal. I know you think it's a bad deal, but--

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: I disagree with them. I'm- I'm- by the way--

MARGARET BRENNAN: You disagree with that assessment?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: --I have intel people, but that doesn't mean I have to agree. President Bush had intel people that said Saddam Hussein--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Sure.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: --in Iraq had nuclear weapons- had all sorts of weapons of mass destruction. Guess what? Those intel people didn't know what the hell they were doing, and they got us tied up in a war that we should have never been in. And we've spent seven trillion dollars in the Middle East and we have lost lives--

MARGARET BRENNAN: Do you trust your national security adviser John Bolton because he worked in the Bush administration?

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: I do, and I respect John and John is not one of the people that happened to be testifying or on.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Got it.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: And you know what I tell people- you can testify any way you want. I'm not going to stop them from testifying. They said they were mischaracterized-- maybe they were maybe they weren't, I don't really know-- but I can tell you this, I want them to have their own opinion and I want them to give me their opinion. But, when I look at Iran, I look at Iran as a nation that has caused tremendous problems.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Yeah.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: When I came in as president of the United States, my first year, I went to the Pentagon two weeks after I came in, a short time after, and I was given a- because I wanted to know what's going on with Iran.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Right.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: We were in many many locations in the Middle East in huge difficulty. Every single one of them was caused by the number one terrorist nation in the world which is Iran. So when my intelligence people tell me how wonderful Iran is- if you don't mind, I'm going to just go by my own counsel.


I wish Margaret Brennan had asked him where he gets his information if he doesn't believe the Intelligence Community.

I would guess that Bolton has half his ear. The voices in his head have the other. Either way, bad things could very easily happen.