LifeZette Editor-in-Chief Laura Ingraham said the American people “thought they were going to get ‘drain the swamp,’ not ‘clear the desert,'” during an interview Tuesday on Fox News’ “Fox & Friends” — the day after President Donald Trump announced his plans to recommit to the war in Afghanistan.
Trump, who ran on a largely non-interventionist, “America First” foreign platform, acknowledged his reversal in a Monday night address to the nation and hinted that the U.S. would be sending more troops to Afghanistan. After nearly 17 years of U.S. involvement, Ingraham said she wasn’t “a big fan of a surge of troops in Afghanistan.”
“Is that really what the American people thought they were getting? They thought they were going to get ‘drain the swamp,’ not ‘clear the desert,'” she said. “I don’t think Americans want this to be our graveyard.”
“I think [Trump] gave a great speech, and I think he’s making the best assessment he can with the best information that he has,” Ingraham added. “I’m always worried about how we’re going to pay for it, how does this ever end, how is this draining the swamp back home?”
Saying that it’s “hard to imagine how we’d win a lasting peace in Afghanistan” with a few thousand more troops “if we couldn’t do it with a hundred thousand troops,” she lamented that it appears “we’re going to be there through our lifetime.”
Noting that war hawks and Republicans such as Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) offered praise for Trump after he delivered his speech Monday night, Ingraham said that “those guys are for military intervention more often than not.”
“They’re more neoconservatives. They’re not populists or nationalist conservatives. So they love any time we’re going to deploy a lot of troops. They’re going to be pretty happy, probably,” she said before blasting the GOP senators for failing to deliver on Trump’s key campaign promises after more than seven months.
“They need to get [Trump] a tax bill. They need to get Obamacare repealed and replaced. That is what we campaigned on,” Ingraham said. “They need to fund the wall. They can’t hold him hostage on giving amnesty to millions of illegals to fund the wall.”
Although Ingraham expressed her frustration with Trump’s new Afghanistan strategy, she praised the president for taking the opportunity to pivot from several controversy-filled weeks following the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville on Aug. 12, which left one woman dead. Trump fielded intense backlash from both sides of the political aisle for saying that “both sides” were to blame for the violence in Charlottesville, even though he called out white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and Ku Klux Klan members specifically.
“Donald Trump now has a moment to pivot away from the problems of the last two weeks, give that great tone he had last night about unifying the country across racial, ethnic, religious and socio-economic lines,” she said. “Keep that tone up. Let’s make America great again. Let’s do it really positively.”
“The president delivered a great speech. I think there were moments, especially at the beginning, when he talked about unity of purpose for this country and how an informed, strong patriotism — regardless of our differences, our political differences, we come from different backgrounds, races, creeds — that believes in this nation and the goodness of this nation is so critical in moving forward on any front, domestic or foreign,” Ingraham added. “I thought that was beautifully written and well-delivered by the president.”
She advised Trump to “continue to speak to the American people about these issues” and consider delivering national addresses more frequently on a wide array of topics.
“He has to keep this conversation going. This was a great — this was a great moment for him last night because it was a formal address. He was explaining his thought process. I might not agree with it. I think a lot of Americans do not agree with it,” Ingraham said. “But nevertheless, it was a serious, sober address. I want to see him do that on a lot of issues — on immigration, on trade, on race, on economic renewal.”
In particular, she said she believes the president should use a national address to apply pressure on balking GOP senators “to give him a bill he can sign on tax reform” to jump-start the economy in a meaningful way.
“Imagine if he gave that type of address on the need to renew our economy, to help all those minorities who can’t get jobs today, renew our economy with tax reform and a real, real shot in the arm in this economy? That would be really powerful,” Ingraham said. “And that’s really in line with draining the swamp, with making America great again.”
“So this speech I think was a great beginning of that national conversation that he needs to keep having,” she added. “He’s very powerful when he goes right to the people.”