On Friday, the Bloomberg News editorial board took President Donald Trump to task for his reckless handling of the escalating tension with Iran, and said that his administration lacked the preparation or skills necessary to resolve the conflict.
"On Thursday, after Iran shot down a U.S. drone under disputed circumstances, the U.S. planned a military strike," wrote the board. "Jets were scrambled, ships were positioned, and much of Washington waited in grim expectation for the order to shoot. It never came. At the last minute Trump decided to cancel the mission. Although Trump has thankfully avoided further escalation, this is not a good outcome. Iran suffers no consequences, and the president looks indecisive. Far from being deterred, Iran may well be emboldened. No one knows where the red lines are, what the U.S. is prepared to accept, or even what it hopes to achieve in this conflict."
The problem, the board said, is that Trump has an "inability to devise and articulate goals," and "Without a clear policy, he has let his underlings pursue their own." War hawks in his administration like John Bolton pushed the president to go to war, while the Pentagon (and Tucker Carlson) told him not to — and Trump just made whatever decision was recommended by the last person he talked to. "Faced with a yes-or-no decision, the president chose both."
"When a real crisis materializes — in Iran or anywhere else — this administration will be hopelessly ill-prepared," wrote the board. "Understaffed agencies will hesitate; brawling bureaucrats will press for contradictory policies. With no clear decision-maker, the chain of command will break down."
"Republicans in Congress must step forward where they can, pressing Trump to fill vacancies in the executive branch and install Senate-confirmed leaders in essential posts — including secretary of defense, a position that has been vacant, almost unbelievably, for six months," concluded the board. "But there's no good remedy for a delinquent president. At the very least, Trump needs to remember where the buck stops, tweet less, think more, and make up his mind."