You know, it is a deliberate choice on my part to spend the least amount of time and energy possible thinking about or covering Trump now that he's a glorified door greeter at the Mar-a-Lago, but this is too important in its insanity not to mention.
Trump made very public attempts to force with withdrawal of American forces from various countries from Afghanistan to Germany where Americans have been stationed for most of a century. But Trump also made covert, unilateral attempts to withdraw from other countries as well according to a new report from Axios.
Trump reportedly signed unofficial orders to withdraw from bases around the world in a manner and frame of time that left defense officials bewildered.
Forgive the long quote, but just try reading this with a straight face.
The one-page memo was delivered by courier to [Former Acting Defense Secretary] Christopher Miller's office two days later, on the afternoon of Nov. 11. The order arrived seemingly out of nowhere, and its instructions, signed by Trump, were stunning: All U.S. military forces were to be withdrawn from Somalia by Dec. 31, 2020. All U.S. forces were to be withdrawn from Afghanistan by Jan. 15, 2021.
What the fuck is this? Miller wondered.
A former Green Beret, Miller had directed the National Counterterrorism Center and was accustomed to following process. Trump had tapped him to run the Pentagon after his unceremonious firing-by-tweet of Mark Esper. It was Miller's third day on the job.
News of the memo spread quickly throughout the Pentagon. Top military brass, including Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley, were appalled. This was not the way to conduct policy — with no consultation, no input, no process for gaming out consequences or offering alternatives.
A call was quickly placed to White House Counsel Pat Cipollone. In turn, Cipollone notified the national security adviser, Robert O'Brien. Neither Cipollone nor O'Brien had any idea what the order was or where it had come from.
Neither did the office of the staff secretary — whose job it was to vet all the paper that reached the president's desk. Yet the paper bore Trump's distinctive Sharpie signature.
The U.S. government's top national security leaders soon realized they were dealing with an off-the-books operation by the commander in chief himself.
Many would rally to push back — sometimes openly and in coordination, at other times so discreetly that top Trump administration officials had to turn to classified intercepts from the National Security Agency for clues.
It's totally normal for the national security adviser to ask to NSA to tell him what the president is doing, right?
'What the fuck is this?' really is the perfect response because that was my response as well just reading it long after the fact. I can scarcely imagine how defense officials must've felt in the moment; as if they were dealing with a madman.
But they were, weren't they? They were dealing with a madman.
The man who signed a fucking post-it note and handed it off to the Pentagon ordering them to withdraw from the world within two months is the man that Republicans still swear fealty to. Republicans in Congress just removed Rep. Liz Cheney from their leadership because she would not co-sign the ravings of this madman. It is almost certain that this madman will be the GOP nominee for president in 2024 if he still wants to be.
It's a minor miracle that this country survived Trump, but many individual people didn't and the country may not survive another term of him.
Axios' report goes into much further detail and it's all insane.