Previous administrations did not kill him only because the risks of further conflict with Iran were too high. The Trump administration — whether wisely or foolishly — took its shot and killed him. This is a clear enough narrative that administration officials should be able to go out and tell it to Congress, the American people and the international community without shooting themselves in the foot over and over.
But no. The truth is never enough for this administration. Every moment must be a heroic thriller, an action movie starring Donald Trump and SEAL Team Six. It is not enough to be a responsible steward of the nation’s security, a role that requires patience and prudence, for which Trump is unprepared and has failed repeatedly.
Instead, President Trump must portray himself the way his base sees him, as a forceful avenger riding an American eagle into battle. He cannot bear to think of himself as Jimmy Carter, who agonized over risks and deliberated too long about the Iranian hostage crisis of 1979, nor can he stand to think of himself as Barack Obama, the much more popular president he clearly envies, who created the “terrible” and “defective” Iran nuclear deal.