I was set to write an in-depth analysis and assessment on the entire fiasco that is the Army PVT Bradley Manning case. It’s beyond absurd that Manning is being considered for active duty and full healthcare benefits. Manning is a felon who shared mass amounts — like over 700,000 classified documents that led to the deaths of some who were assisting the United States against Islamic jihadists. To think we’re going to reward a traitor, who under any other time of combat would have been summarily executed, because of some ill conceived sympathy for the mental condition of gender dysphoria from which he suffers. And if anyone believes the American taxpayer should be on the hook for $30,000 for a surgery to accommodate this mental instability, well, you are nuts.
I was also considering the lunacy of the left — especially those Senate Democrats — who are threatening to block the nomination of a new FBI director if they don’t get a special prosecutor to investigate Trump-Russian collusion. In other words, the Democrats have a “conviction looking for evidence” mentality, which is truly insane, not to mention a violation of legal standard. When it came to Hillary Clinton and a private email server, destroying computers, uranium deals with Russia — hey, nothing to see here. Even as Barack Obama promised more “flexibility” after reelection, there were no calls for an investigation into what he meant by that “off-mic” moment…not to mention the incessant forays into foreign electoral issues such as Brexit and the Israeli elections.
There’s just so much ammunition to use against the progressive socialist left…so why shoot yourself in the foot? But that’s what seems to keep happening.
As reported by the Washington Post, “President Trump revealed highly classified information to the Russian foreign minister and ambassador in a White House meeting last week, according to current and former U.S. officials, who said Trump’s disclosures jeopardized a critical source of intelligence on the Islamic State.
The information the president relayed had been provided by a U.S. partner through an intelligence-sharing arrangement considered so sensitive that details have been withheld from allies and tightly restricted even within the U.S. government, officials said. The partner had not given the United States permission to share the material with Russia, and officials said Trump’s decision to do so endangers cooperation from an ally that has access to the inner workings of the Islamic State.
After Trump’s meeting, senior White House officials took steps to contain the damage, placing calls to the CIA and the National Security Agency. “This is code-word information,” said a U.S. official familiar with the matter, using terminology that refers to one of the highest classification levels used by American spy agencies. Trump “revealed more information to the Russian ambassador than we have shared with our own allies.”
One day after dismissing Comey, Trump welcomed Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Ambassador Sergey Kislyak — a key figure in earlier Russia controversies — into the Oval Office. It was during that meeting, officials said, that Trump went off script and began describing details of an Islamic State terrorist threat related to the use of laptop computers on aircraft. For almost anyone in government, discussing such matters with an adversary would be illegal. As president, Trump has broad authority to declassify government secrets, making it unlikely that his disclosures broke the law. “The president and the foreign minister reviewed common threats from terrorist organizations to include threats to aviation,” said H.R. McMaster, the national security adviser, who participated in the meeting. “At no time were any intelligence sources or methods discussed, and no military operations were disclosed that were not already known publicly.”
Yes, I know we’ve heard the declarations of the “fake news media” and the concerns about leaks emanating from the White House. However, if there’s something that has to be learned by President Trump, it is the “politics of optics.”
To have a meeting with the Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov, famous for receiving the Hillary and Barack “reset button,” and the Russian Ambassador Kislyak one day after the dismissal of FBI Director James Comey is perfectly fine, but the politics of optics is against you.
Furthermore, to only allow Russian photographers, no American media, to be present for the meeting violates the common sense of the politics of optics. It’s perfectly permissible to do so, but one has to question the prudence. To go off script in what should have been a very carefully scripted meeting knowing the political atmosphere comes with ramifications and consequences. Yes, we’re all very aware the liberal progressive media is not supportive of President Trump and is doing everything possible to undermine and delegitimize his presidency. However, that doesn’t mean you give a clear political opposition the ammunition with which they can fire upon you. There comes a point where you cannot blame folks for handing you another shovel as you continue to dig yourself a deeper hole.
And what of these leaks occurring? Perhaps it is an imperative to drain that swamp and rid the Trump administration of those pesky Obama holdovers who are doing everything possible to sabotage his administration.. Needless to say, this story from the Washington Post comes from someone inside, and this will continue to happen. However, if you understand the politics of optics, you don’t give the leakers anything to leak, if you choose not to eliminate their existence in your administration.
This story may be totally innocuous, but the problem is it will now take up oxygen and gain a life unto itself. The White House press conference will be all about this item. The communications team of the White House will once again find itself on the defense because they will have to confront the optics. The chuckleheads like Schumer, Waters, Pelosi, and the rest will have a field day and say this is the evidence they know exists. Remember what the folks used to say down South, “people will know you by the company you keep.” Yes, it ain’t fair that the progressive socialist left can get away with all their unconstitutional and illicit behavior. Yes, it ain’t right that they have the majority of the media as their accomplices to spin whatever story they desire.
But the prudent commander doesn’t give the opposition the high ground, as they understand “perception can lend itself to reality.” And of course it was Nazi Minister of Propaganda Goebbels who claimed if you tell a lie enough, it will become truth in the minds of some.
Yes Mr. President, we want to talk about growing the economy and the failure of Obamacare. We want to discuss how we rebuild our military deterrent capability and capacity. We want to elaborate on the endeavors to rid our streets of violent criminal illegal gangs such as MS-13. But ya gotta help us out and recognize the politics of optics and you must consider every move carefully when you know you are surrounded by those meaning you no good, and certainly no success.
I would like to share a little tidbit of advice first offered to me as a young cadet at Ft. Lewis Washington in the summer of 1982: “engage brain before firing mouth.”
This is not a fair fight, and we who voted for you are on your side and want to see you do well…we want America to do well. But sir, ya just gotta stop pulling the pin on those grenades and dropping them on your own foot.
[Learn more about Allen West’s vision for this nation in his book Guardian of the Republic: An American Ronin’s Journey to Faith, Family and Freedom]