It’s been a frequent talking point for former President Donald Trump and his supporters that in four years as president, Trump did not start any new wars.
But let’s set the record straight for a second – Trump was not exactly peace-loving either. Donald Trump intervened in foreign countries various times, and assassinated the likes of the leader of ISIS and the head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, and there was very frequent saber-rattling directed against different countries and leaders, from North Korea to China.
But Trump did not at any point begin an open-ended war in any foreign country. It represented a notable shift from previous Republican and conservative presidencies, especially the Bush-Cheney era.
Here is a rundown of what Donald Trump has been saying as he hits the campaign trail.
Donald Trump Thinks He Can Stop World War III?
Now running for president once again, Donald Trump has upped the ante: he has vowed that his return to the White House is the only thing standing between us and World War III.
According to a New York magazine account of his speech in South Carolina over the weekend, Trump made that explicit.
In language that reflected his “I alone can fix it” messaging from the 2016 campaign, Trump implied that he is the only one who can accomplish that.
“The 2024 election is our one shot to save our country, and we need a leader who is ready to do that on day one,” Trump said in the speech. ”We need a president who can take on the whole system and a president who can win.”
“Through weakness and incompetence, Joe Biden has brought us to the brink of World War III. We’re at the brink of World War III, just in case anybody doesn’t know it. As president, I will bring back peace through strength.”
Trump also returned to the famous themes of his launch speech in 2015, insulting the people who Mexico is “sending” over the border.
“They are sending people that are killers, murderers, they’re sending rapists. And they’re sending, frankly, terrorists, or terrorists are coming on their own, and we can’t allow this to happen,” the former president said.
This appeared to be a reference to Biden’s backing of Ukraine in its conflict with Russia, as opponents of that intervention frequently cite the risk of nuclear annihilation from such a confrontation with the Russians.
Donald Trump also claimed that he would end the war within 24 hours if he returns to office.
Trump also called Biden’s withdrawal from Afghanistan “the lowest day in the history of our country,” even as Trump had himself ordered a rapid withdrawal from that country in the last weeks of his presidency. Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley, among other military officials, had called the plans “militarily not feasible nor wise.”
Down the Rabbit Hole We Go…
Trump also promised to embrace culture war issues, such as ending federal funding for school that embrace “critical race theory,” and called for direct election of school principals. And he also ripped the president’s son, Hunter Biden.
Should Trump end up in a slugfest with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who is expected to run for president as well, he will likely need to emphasize those culture war issues, with which DeSantis has become closely associated.
But once a general election arrives, it remains to be seen how much salience those issues will have, especially in swing states. Voters in such states roundly rejected such appeals in the 2022 midterm elections, and there remains little evidence that anything related to Hunter Biden has ever been a winning issue for the GOP.
According to The Hill, a poll of South Carolina last week, by the South Carolina Policy Council, showed that “37 percent of likely South Carolina Republican primary voters said that the GOP should nominate Trump in 2024, while nearly half — 47 percent — said they would prefer someone else.” The same poll had DeSantis leading Trump by 19 points in a head-to-head matchup.
“It’s not to say these people wouldn’t vote for Trump if he were the nominee,” Dallas Woodhouse, that organization’s executive director, told The Hill. “But they certainly desire the option to choose somebody else at this time.”
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Expertise and Experience: Stephen Silver is a Senior Editor for 19FortyFive. He is an award-winning journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.