Trump’s announcement and briefing on the Baghdadi raid, not surprisingly, employed hot and boastful rhetoric that other presidents would not have used and struck a decidedly partisan tone. Trump made it clear that he didn’t trust Democrats and feared they would compromise the mission; as a result, he broke with established precedent and only briefed select members of his own party ahead of the Baghdadi operation.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said it was inappropriate that the Russians had learned of the operation before Congress, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said he learned of Baghdadi’s death from watching television.
Compare Trump’s tone to Obama’s when he announced the death of Osama bin Laden in 2011. Obama took no questions, was calm and measured and referred to the importance of overcoming terrorism by adhering to American values.
By contrast, Trump referred proudly to his administration’s ban on travelers from certain Muslim-majority countries. “We have a very effective ban, and it’s very hard for people to come to our country,” Trump said. And, in another act of politics and partisanship, he arranged to have Sen. Lindsey Graham go to the White House briefing room to deliver the administration’s talking points.