The Daily Beast’s Matt K. Lewis said late Thursday night that Trump turned “more serious” as he announced the airstrike:
This seemed like a very different Donald Trump. More serious–and clearly moved emotionally. Frequently invoked the Almighty.
— Matt Lewis (@mattklewis) April 7, 2017
Later Thursday night, MSNBC’s Brian Williams waxed poetic about the majesty of the missile attacks. Borrowing from Leonard Cohen’s song “First We Take Manhattan,” Williams referred to the “beautiful pictures of fearsome armaments.”
Brian Williams refers to this Pentagon video of missiles going to kill people as "beautiful" 3 times in 30 seconds pic.twitter.com/KBb3tP8qHT
— Trevor Timm (@trevortimm) April 7, 2017
Many were disgusted by Williams’ flowery language, and some specifically knocked him for misinterpreting Cohen’s lyrics.
CNN’s Fareed Zakaria was perhaps the most fawning on-air pundit. He declared that “Donald Trump became the President of the United States,” calling it a “big moment.” He lavished Trump with praise for recognizing the importance of international norms and embracing a “broader moral and political purpose.” Zakaria also suggested that Trump had grown in his role, and that his rhetoric about the attack was “the kind of rhetoric that we’ve come to expect from American presidents.”
— New Day (@NewDay) April 7, 2017
First thing Friday morning, the Washington Post’s David Ignatius said that he thought Trump was “sincere” in his reactions to the photos of “the little children choking to death.” By taking this action, Ignatious believes, Trump has “restored the credibility of American power” by putting more “believability” back into it:
What’s perhaps most disconcerting about how quickly some in the media were willing to praise this action is how the White House itself is hoping to harness some political capital from it. A senior administration official told Axios that the White House is “proud” of Trump’s decision and characterized this as “leadership week.”
This isn’t entirely surprising. Trump’s approval ratings have been fairly low, but the President indicated in 2012 a certain awareness that decisive military strikes can help polling rebound.
Now that Obama’s poll numbers are in tailspin – watch for him to launch a strike in Libya or Iran. He is desperate.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 9, 2012
And many are already terrified that Trump might use military action to shore up his popularity and distract from the massive scrutiny and investigations his administration has face in its first 11 weeks.
We are at the extremely dangerous stage where Trump is realizing he can automatically command the news cycle by ordering missile strikes.
— Julian Sanchez (@normative) April 7, 2017
I'm skeptical of regime change in the Middle East. I'm terrified that Trump just learned bombing is the way to get respect on the shows.
— Michael Grunwald (@MikeGrunwald) April 7, 2017