President Donald Trump has spent the better part of his term in the White House attacking American intelligence services. But over the weekend, it was the CIA and Kurdish allies who helped ensure the death of ISIS commander Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Yet, when Trump made the announcement early Sunday morning, Trump treated the action like a kind of reality show.
The Daily Beast made the observation, saying that it's almost as if Trump was announcing a new movie he wants everyone to see: "Bring Me the Head of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi."
In his attempt to copy former President Barack Obama's announcement that the military had killed former Taliban leader Osama bin Laden, Trump posted a photo of his team watching the military mission against Baghdadi. Though, there's some question about the time-stamp on the photo.
"It was absolutely perfect, as though you were watching a movie," Trump said about the military action.
"No doubt a fictional movie about the raid already is being planned and scripts written," speculated The Daily Beast. "But if Trump's account is accurate, the actual video would be much more powerful than a docudrama for the purpose of dissuading potential jihadists and, in his mind, impressing potential voters for Donald J. Trump in next year's presidential election."
When describing the death, Trump went into brutal and gruesome detail in a way that made commentators fear it might inflame ISIS fighters.
When Obama gave the word to go after bin Laden, he and other military and security advisers agreed not to share the video of the action because it could compromise future actions. Trump, by contrast, may release the video of the Baghdadi death, because the victory lap is more important for him as he desperately seeks praise and recognition.
"But quite apart from Trump's worthy desire to undermine the messaging of the still virulent ISIS organization, there is also his unworthy inclination to gloat. Remember when Trump tweeted a highly classified high-resolution image of a failed Iranian missile launch earlier this year for little more reason, it would seem, that smug self-satisfaction?" wrote The Beast.
Ironically, Trump criticized Obama heavily for taking too much credit for the death of bin Laden.