At Fox News, the two most influential populist demagogues in the country differed greatly. Sean Hannity, who spent the aughts as an Iraq War–supporting George W. Bush ally, urged escalatory attacks on Iranian oil refineries while teasing the possibility of regime change. But Tucker Carlson urged restraint; hosted guests who emphasized the huge costs that a war with Iran would impose on Americans; criticized Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, an Iran hawk; and questioned why so many on the right who claim to distrust the “deep state” so completely trusted its characterizations of the threat from Iran.
In the Senate, two of the Republicans who most frequently pander to Trump to curry favor with him, Rand Paul and Lindsey Graham, split on Iran; Paul insisted that Congress must approve acts of war, while Graham suggested that Americans who invoke laws that constrain presidential war making are guilty of “empowering the enemy.” (Three House Republicans joined a Democratic effort to assert a war-powers resolution.)
At National Review, Michael Brendan Dougherty, a paleoconservative generally averse to foreign interventions, defended Trump’s actions as an instance of prudent war making. “The reason you have a military is to punish people that hurt your people and to deter others,” he said on an NR podcast.