While Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, the Gang of Eight in general, and other important members of Congress were left in the dark about President Donald Trump’s plans to attack a high-ranking military official from Iran, Sen. Lindsey Graham, one of the president’s top defenders, told hosts on Fox & Friends that Trump did speak to him about the matter while he was at Mar-a-Lago.
“I was briefed about the potential operation when I was down in Florida,” Graham said, per a tweet from CBS News’ Alan He, who was watching the senator speak on the program in real-time. “I appreciate being brought into the orbit.”
For some, that may be enough “consultation” for the president to receive prior to enacting deadly force or the assassination of a high-ranking leader of an enemy state. But one political scientist spoke out against Trump’s actions, even if they included notifying just Graham ahead of time.
Brian Klaas is a professor of political science at University College London, as well as a frequent columnist in the Washington Post. He noted that Trump went against basic protocols in how to go forward with such a planned strike — and whom to speak with prior to doing so.
It used to be the norm to brief the Gang of Eight (which includes both parties) before major military action. Now it’s just people who praise Trump that happen to be at Mar-a-Lago beforehand. https://t.co/NN3t1n2z7o
— Brian Klaas (@brianklaas) January 3, 2020
“It used to be the norm to brief the Gang of Eight (which includes both parties) before major military action,” Klaas wrote in a tweet of his own. “Now it’s just people who praise Trump that happen to be at Mar-a-Lago beforehand.”
Klaas’s remarks highlight an important dilemma: if a president only consults with those who give him praise or agree with him no matter what, is he really consulting with anyone on the matter? Differing points of view provide the commander-in-chief with perspectives he may not have considered before, which is why presidents in the past have consulted with a bipartisan group of lawmakers prior to making such planned attacks.