The 2024 presidential election is still nearly two years away, but the campaign is already underway. President Joe Biden is expected to announce his plans for a re-election bid soon, and the field of Republicans anxious to unseat him is beginning to coalesce.
Former President Donald Trump got a jump on the race, waiting just one week before announcing his intention to run again after his party’s underwhelming midterm performance. While he’s the only Republican to officially announce, others appear to be jumping in soon: Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, who later served as Trump’s ambassador to the United Nations, will likely announce her own bid next week.
Politico To differentiate himself from potential candidates like Haley or former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Trump will run as an “anti-war dove among hawks,” reports said. But while a forceful push in the antiwar direction would be a welcome development for the party, Trump’s record casts doubt on his seriousness.
Trump’s reflective opposition to foreign trapping was part of his appeal during his 2016 candidacy. In a Republican debate before the South Carolina primary that year, Trump called the Iraq war “a big, fat mistake” and said of its proponents, “They lied. They said there were weapons of mass destruction. There were none, and they knew it. . There was no one.”
Last week, Sen. JD Vance (R-Ohio) received an early endorsement, throwing his weight behind Trump on the grounds that in his first term, “he has not started a war despite tremendous pressure from his own party and even members of his own administration.” In early 2016, when Vance was a private citizen who opposed Trump, he wrote similarly The New York Times that Trump’s message resonated with white working-class voters because “he told them what no major Republican politician has said in a decade — that [Iraq War] It was a terrible mistake imposed on the country by an incompetent president.” A 2017 study concluded that Trump’s anti-intervention rhetoric was crucial to his victory over Hillary Clinton.
But once elected Trump’s record did not reflect a commitment to a more restrictive foreign policy. Just days into his administration, Trump green-lighted a military operation in Yemen that yielded no valuable intelligence but led to the death of Navy SEAL Ryan Owens. When pressed on the failure, he blamed his military advisers, saying, “They lost Ryan.” A few weeks later, that country’s government launched 59 missiles into Syria after targeting civilians with chemical weapons.
Despite promising to bring troops home, Trump has not ended any wars in his four years in office. He loosened restrictions on drone strikes, which reportedly led to a massive increase in civilian casualties. And in January 2020, he authorized the assassination of Iranian military leader Qassem Soleimani. Although the administration initially claimed that the strike was necessary to prevent an impending strike that would risk “hundreds” of American lives, it later emerged that Trump had been considering the order for months.
Iran fired missiles at a US air base in Iraq, injuring more than 100 American soldiers, and Iranian-trained militias fired rockets at a US military base in Iraq, killing several soldiers. And yet when Congress passed a resolution barring the president from further military action against Iran without congressional approval, Trump vetoed it.
Justifiably, Trump began the process of ending the war in Afghanistan by signing the Doha Accords in February 2020. But that agreement, which called for a gradual troop withdrawal over more than a year, came only toward the end of Trump’s first term, as he ran for re-election. And it arrived after sending a thousand more Troops in Afghanistan in 2017.
As the 2024 campaign season heats up, an anti-war party in the Republican Party that extends beyond just aid to Ukraine would be a great advantage. Unfortunately, if the party’s most recent standard-bearer is any indication, that passion will be in short supply among the candidates.