I accompanied the President and First Lady, along with Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Secretary of Defense William Cohen, Secretary of Treasury Robert Rubin, and others to Andrews Joint Base to testify of the worthy transfer. That same day, my oldest son turned 6 years old. She didn't care in the world about the slightest concern that Daddy wouldn't come home. But those families were already concerned even before the attacks. Someone they loved was serving their country half a world away. Almost a quarter of a century later, none of his birthdays or weddings, anniversaries or graduations has been the same.
I have never forgotten those families or that day. Like everyone, he was heartbroken. But our pain soon turned into resolution. Clinton, especially, felt the burden of avenging her death. It is fair to say that he was almost obsessed with Al Qaeda for the rest of his presidency. He tried to catch Bin Laden and narrowly missed. His successor, of course, declared war on the Taliban to avenge September 11. And then the next president, Barack Obama, in a remarkable show of courage, ordered the Navy SEALS to storm the Bin Laden complex. And justice was done.
It took three presidents 13 years to get Bin Laden, but each stayed. Failure to do so would have shown weakness, which in turn would provoke aggression. Every president should know this from day one. In the first six months of the first year of his first term, Clinton learned that Saddam Hussein had planned to assassinate former President George H.W. Bush. Clinton did not invite Saddam to join the G-7. He bombed Baghdad, leveling off the headquarters of Iraqi intelligence.
"We will fight terrorism," Clinton said in a speech at the time. "We will deter aggression. We will protect our people."
The reports that Donald Trump received information that Russia allegedly paid Taliban terrorists to kill US troops are indescribably shocking to me.
Yes, like you, I thought I had lost my ability to be surprised by Trump. Trump himself has witnessed a decent transfer. He has seen the flag-draped coffins unloaded, heard the muffled sobs of the heartbroken, saw the bottomless pain in the eyes of a child who lost a father. How can that be? After he was reportedly informed about Putin aiming for the death of US troops, Trump offered Putin rewards, as an invitation to meet with the top G-7 democracies and come to the U.S. For a gathering of the world freedom leaders. An American president who really loved the troops could perhaps invite Putin to join Bin Laden at the gates of hell.
It is a long list, the scandalous things that Trump has said and done. But this has to be the worst. If true, he has refused to avenge the deaths of the American troops, heroes under his command. Much worse even than cheating Putin in Helsinki, where he betrayed our country and sided with the Russian president over the United States' intelligence community. Even worse than Charlottesville, where a neo-Nazi murdered an innocent woman, and Trump declared that there were "very good people on both sides," establishing a moral equivalency between peaceful patriots and white supremacists with torches.
As reported by the New York Times on Sunday, Trump denied having been informed about Russia's terrorist scheme.
He later tweeted that he was informed by intelligence about the Russian rewards, saying
: "Intel just informed me that they did not find this information credible, and therefore did not report it to me or @VP. Possibly another fabricated Russia hoax, perhaps because of the fake news @nytimesbooks, wanting to make Republicans look bad!! "
I do not believe in denial. Trump lies as you and I breathe: take oxygen and breathe out lies. Furthermore, if the intelligence community detected such a serious threat to our troops and did not immediately report to the commander in chief, the heads would roll. But even if it's true, Trump surely knows about the plan now. It is time to respond. Punishment time. Deterrence time. It is time to shake up those targeting US troops.
If Donald Trump doesn't, for some reason, Russia shouldn't be comforted by his weakness. Patriotic Americans on both sides of the aisle are increasing their support for Joe Biden, in part because we must have a president who protects the United States and the heroes who stand up for us. We will fight terrorism. We will deter aggression. We will protect our people.