In a chilling moment, Bassam Rifai of the Syrian American Council looked directly into the television cameras and begged Trump to go to war with Syria.
A Fox News guest used his live appearance to urge the U.S. to drop bombs on war-torn Syria. And he did so in a disturbing fashion, speaking directly into the television camera to appeal directly to Trump.
Bassam Rifai of the Syrian American Council told host Eric Shawn he would be “surprised” if there were no strikes against Syria. And he said Trump “needs to take swift and decisive action” against the regime.
He then made his chilling appeal even more pointed.
“President Trump, I am speaking to you directly,” Rifai said, looking into the camera. “Do not make the same mistakes that President Obama had made. What we need to do right now is take out [Syrian President Bashar al-] Assad’s air force. If we ground all his air force, he won’t have the capability to attack Syrians by the air anymore.”
The surreal plea is all the more troubling, considering the fact that Trump remains completely enthralled by Fox News. And he apparently no longer listens to counsel from his chief of staff and other top advisers.
No previous president has spent as many hours as Trump does camped out in front of the television, switching from channel to channel, obsessively listening to what people are saying about him.
Trump is also famously averse to detailed briefings of any kind.
So it might make some bizarre sense for Fox News guests and hosts to make their urgent pleas directly to the camera. But that’s not how the executive branch is supposed to function in the United Sates. It’s not supposed to be swallowed up by a closed loop that revolves around a dishonest cable television channel.
But it does now.
Trump just launched a hysterical push to secure America’s already secure southern border after he saw a series of false and misleading Fox News reports about a “caravan” of immigrants heading for the U.S.
And now the fear is that Trump will start dropping bombs in the Middle East based solely on his Fox News habit.
“Aides sometimes plot to have guests make points on Fox that they have been unable to get the president to agree to in person,” the Washington Post noted recently. A senior administration official said that Trump “will listen more when it is on TV.”
Indeed, in recent months Trump seems to have moved beyond regurgitating Fox News talking points. Now he’s actually launching crucial policy initiatives based almost entirely on the network’s incoherent and false reports.
Trump spent Easter weekend at Mar-a-Lago hanging out with a number of anti-immigration Fox News players. The meetings seemed to have prompted Trump’s latest hateful Twitter tantrum on Mexico and the border wall.
But it didn’t end there. Within days, Trump announced he was dispatching National Guard troops to supposedly fend off a dangerous immigrant invasion. In truth, arrests at the southern border hit a 46-year low in 2017.
Trump has always wanted to turn the White House in a reality TV show. Now it seems guests on Fox News have started directly auditioning for roles.