President Donald Trump on Sunday defended his use of the term “mission accomplished” to describe the Friday night attacks on Syria, even as President George W. Bush’s former spokesperson said he wouldn’t have recommended the president use the term.
Trump, in an early morning tweet, said the attacks on Syria were carried out with great “precision.” He claimed his use of the term was intentional and that he knew the “Fake News Media” would seize on his use of it. But the president said he “felt it is such a great Military term, it should be brought back.”
On Saturday, Trump tweeted: “Thank you to France and the United Kingdom for their wisdom and the power of their fine Military. Could not have had a better result. Mission Accomplished!”
The Syrian raid was so perfectly carried out, with such precision, that the only way the Fake News Media could demean was by my use of the term “Mission Accomplished.” I knew they would seize on this but felt it is such a great Military term, it should be brought back. Use often!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 15, 2018
Twitter immediately erupted with a fusillade of mockery after the remark, as well as Trump’s defense of it.
“I didn’t think I could be shocked by a tweet anymore but ‘mission accomplished’ was so surprising I had to double check that it was not a spoof,” Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI wrote Saturday.
I didn’t think I could be shocked by a tweet anymore but “mission accomplished” was so surprising I had to double check that it was not a spoof.
— Brian Schatz (@brianschatz) April 14, 2018
Donald Trump's angry insistence that he knew perfectly well the back story of the phrase, "Mission accomplished," confirms … he had no idea at all https://t.co/LVaCZKxeGp
— David Frum (@davidfrum) April 15, 2018
In May 2003, less than two months after the U.S. military launched its invasion and occupation of Iraq, President George W. Bush arrived on USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier in the co-pilot’s seat of a Navy fighter jet. He then proceeded to give a speech about the status of the invasion.
“Major combat operations in Iraq have ended,” Bush said, the infamous “Mission Accomplished” banner hovering over him. “In the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed.”
But the conflict would drag on for more than a decade, killing hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and Americans, including civilians, and unleashing ISIS from a power vacuum that ensued. The moment — especially the “Mission Accomplished” on the banner — dogged Bush for the remainder of his presidency.
Speaking on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday, White House spokesperson Sarah Sanders defended Trump’s use of the term, saying the U.S. military “100 percent met its objective” in Syria by targeting chemical weapons infrastructure.
Um…I would have recommended ending this tweet with not those two words. https://t.co/h5Fl7kjea6
— Ari Fleischer (@AriFleischer) April 14, 2018
Former Bush press secretary Ari Fleischer said on Twitter that he would not have recommended that the president end his tweet with the phrase.
On CNN’s Sunday show “State of the Union,” Sen. Angus King (I-ME) said: “I think it’s impossible to say at this point that the mission has been accomplished.”
“We did a strike a year ago for that same purpose and it was deemed a success,” but the Syrian government continued to use chemical weapons, King said.