Tabnak - Although during his electoral campaign, the US President Donald Trump vowed to decrease the level of American foreign involvement and focus more on the domestic issues, the first US operation abroad in the new administration came less than a month after his inauguration: the January 28 airstrike in Yemen. Now, it seems that the White House is trying to justify the act by every means possible.
Soon after the airstrike, many reports appeared in the international media indicating that the operation had caused the death of dozens of civilians, including some women and children. According to the "Independent”, about 10 people among those who were killed were women and children.
The White House was quick to response to those reports, with the Press Secretary Sean Spicer claimed that the operation was quite successful in reaching its designated goals. His reference was apparently to the report published by the US Army declaring that as the result of the operation, 14 Al-Qaeda terrorists were killed and also 2 more terrorists during a drone attack afterwards.
However, such statistics didn’t stop the critics from declaring their objections to such violent and blind operations. The situation became more complicated for Trump administration when one of the most well-known republican senators, John McCain joined the critics. Referring to the fact that one US soldier was also killed during the operation, McCain said that he doesn’t consider any operation which causes the death of an American soldier as successful.
Such a position taken by McCain, caused the White House to double its efforts to justify the operation, and this time, Spicer tried to use a new tool, namely trying to provoke patriotic sentiments among the public opinion by raising his own narrative of the fallen soldier.
According to NBC News, in reaction to McCain’s comments Spicer said that "anyone who undermines the success of that raid owes an apology and [does] a disservice" to the life of the fallen US soldier. Spicer further stressed that "He [the soldier] fought knowing what was at stake in that mission”.
The new position taken by the White House against the criticisms clearly shows the overall approach of Trump administration on the critics. Such an approach consists of refusing any criticism, while attempting to silent the critics by changing the nature of the discussion and connecting it to something more important for the public opinion.
To further clarify the issue, one should remind Trump’s reaction to the vote of the US federal court which suspended his executive order on banning the citizens of 7 Muslim countries from entering the US. After the court ruling, Trump published some Tweets claiming that his decision had been taken with the aim to protect the US against terrorist acts and now the court is jeopardizing the security of the country by suspending the order.
All in all, what has been proved since the very first day of Donald Trump’s presidency is that he is somehow trying to build upon the gaps in the American society and take a line against the conventional political discourse of the country. Indeed an integral part of such a strategy is identifying the points which are important to the public in one way or another and trying to show himself on the people’s side, different from the other US politicians. However, it’s still very soon to speculate about the implications of such a populist approach.