Trump's daily White House chaos is hurting the U.S. military's ability to fight ISIS.
Trump might relish fostering a culture of chaos inside the White House, as he continues to dismantle his Cabinet and summarily dismiss top advisers. But that dysfunction has real-world implications, particularly for U.S. commanders who complain Trump’s team is distracted and non-responsive.
Specifically, U.S. commanders battling ISIS in Syria insist they’re losing crucial ground because of the lack of guidance from the White House.
“Some U.S. commanders say what they perceive as a lack of guidance from the White House — which sent Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster packing in a 9-day span — is threatening their mission to destroy ISIS,” NBC News reports.
“We send memos. We tell them [the White House] what is going on. I’m not sure they’re listening, or if they even know what we’re doing out here,” said one senior officer. “I don’t think anyone is home right now.”
Adds another: “We’re on the two-yard line. We could literally fall into the end zone. We’re that close to total victory, to whipping out the ISIS caliphate in Syria. We’re that close and now, it’s coming apart.”
During the turbulent month of March, Trump seemed to turn the White House into a reality TV show, with a laundry list of characters exiting and new ones being brought in. All the while, scandals continue to plague the administration.
Trump’s abrupt firing of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and then national security adviser H.R. McMaster have been seen as especially disruptive, since the two men held extremely sensitive positions. The two, in comparison to the rest of Trump’s radical team, were also seen as somewhat moderating forces.
Not only does that kind of roiling personnel carousel create chaos inside Washington, D.C, it drastically affects policy, to the point where commanders don’t know where to look for leadership while ISIS regroups.
That same crisis is unfolding on the diplomatic front, where Trump’s State Department has been gutted.
This week, more than 200 retired career diplomats signed a letter sounding the alarm about the corrosion of the State Department, warning that the Trump administration’s neglect of the institution has “crippled” its capacity.
To date, eight of the nine senior leadership positions in the State Department are unfilled, while 50 ambassadorships are vacant, as are 16 of the 22 assistant secretary positions.
Trump’s erratic behavior continues to make dangerous times even more dangerous.