As tensions with Iran threaten to spill over into war, the big question is who has sway over President Donald Trump, his hawkish advisers or a cautious Fox News host, and the answer might make all the difference.
According to the Washington Post, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is drawing his own “red lines” on Iran, while National Security Advisor John Bolton controls what Trump sees and hears, insulating the president from opinions different from his hard-line position when it comes to dealing with Tehran.
Meanwhile, the Daily Beast claims that it’s Tucker Carlson who actually has Trump’s ear when it comes to Iran. The prime-time Fox News host, who once supported George W. Bush’s attack on Iraq, has renounced that position and become an outspoken critic of US military adventurism.
His show bills itself as the “sworn enemy of lying, pomposity, smugness, and groupthink” and Carlson frequently brings up Trump’s promise to withdraw from “endless wars” in the Middle East.
As Trump was taking the state for his re-election campaign kick-off in Florida on Tuesday, Carlson hosted retired US Army Colonel Douglas Macgregor, who warned that a war with Iran was a loser going into 2020.
“He needs to get us out of Afghanistan, he needs to get out of Syria, and he needs to get out of Iraq,” said Macgregor. “If he can’t turn to an audience like the one he’s got tonight a year from now and say, “Look, I promised, I delivered,” I think he’s not gonna see everybody show up at the ballot box that he would like to be there.”
This was not a one-time occurrence, either; Carlson was warning against a war with Iran as early as July 2018, following Trump’s decision to pull out from the nuclear deal and impose new sanctions on Tehran. War, Carlson argued, would “destroy” Trump’s presidency.