It seems Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump kept pretty busy this week, issuing his first serious (well, to him at least) policy plans since launching his campaign in June. While his immigration plans, which include the famous wall he somehow will have Mexico build, are certainly outrageous, his recently disclosed approach to hot-button foreign policy issues, namely Islamic extremist group ISIS, has certainly raised eyebrows. In his Sunday appearance on NBC's Meet The Press, Trump announced he had no qualms with sending U.S. troops to fight ISIS, and his most recent words about the extremist group aren't even his most bizarre. His disconnect with the current unrest in the Middle East certainly isn't isolated within his party, but there are definitely things Republican candidates have said about ISIS at one point or another that will make you shake your head in disbelief.
We have Jeb Bush blaming ISIS on Hillary Clinton, Scott Walker literally comparing unions to ISIS, Marco Rubio linking Iran's government with ISIS, Lindsey Graham suggesting ISIS will kill us all, and there are still quite a few more. Ultimately, most GOP candidates seem unaware of the actions the Obama administration has already taken against ISIS and fail to distinguish what would simply be unreasonable for the United States to take on.
Donald Trump: "I Would Know How To ... Defeat ISIS Very Quickly. And I'm Not Gonna Tell You What It Is Tonight."
Ah, yes, Donald Trump and the great "known unknown." In his May 27 interview with Fox's Greta Van Susteren, Trump claimed to know just how to bring ISIS to its knees but reasoned it was too dangerous to disclose his genius idea on television.
Donald Trump: "I Would Knock The Hell Out Of [ISIS] ... But I'd Put A Ring Around It And I'd Take The Oil For Our Country."
His full quote, in his interview last Monday with MSNBC's Morning Joe:
They have great money because they have oil. Every place where they have oil I would knock the hell out of them. I would knock out the source of their wealth, the primary sources of their wealth, which is oil. And in order to do that, you would have to put boots on the ground. I would knock the hell out of them, but I'd put a ring around it and I'd take the oil for our country.
Scott Walker: "If I Can Take On 100,000 Protesters, I Can Do The Same Across The World."
At a Conservative Action Conference in February, a particular comment by the notoriously anti-union Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker had many people believing he hilariously joked about how fighting union protesters was pretty much the same thing as fighting ISIS. You know you've reached a frightening low when former Texas Gov. Rick Perry calls you out — just look at Trump.
Jeb Bush: "ISIS Grew While The United States Disengaged From The Middle East And Ignored The Threat. And Where Was Secretary Of State Clinton In All Of This?"
To be fair, Bush didn't necessarily blame the creation of ISIS and its heinous acts on Clinton, but he certainly made it clear he attributes its escalation to her work in the Middle East as secretary of state. Bush particularly called out the Democratic front-runner for not supporting efforts to maintain peace in Iraq.
Like the president himself, she had opposed the surge, then joined in claiming credit for its success, then stood by as that hard-won victory by American and allied forces was thrown away. In all her record-setting travels, she stopped by Iraq exactly once.
Marco Rubio: "I Believe That Much Of Our Strategy With Regards To ISIS Is Being Driven By A Desire Not To Upset Iran."
Yes, because escalating attacks on Iran's enemy would definitely upset its government. Rubio's belief that all Middle Eastern nations are somehow directly linked to Islamic terrorist groups isn't just ignorant. By reinforcing popular, racist misconceptions, it's extremely destructive, too.
Lindsey Graham: "This President Needs To Rise To The Occasion Before We All Get Killed Back Here At Home."
Yes, ISIS poses a threat to international public safety, but inspiring extreme paranoia is really only going to make the situation worse. In a Fox News interview last September, Graham further elaborated:
They're intending to come here. So, I will not let this president suggest to the American people we can outsource our security and this is not about our safety. There is no way in hell you can form an army on the ground to go into Syria, to destroy ISIL without a substantial American component.
Ben Carson: "Well First Of All You Have To Recognize [ISIS Goes] Back Thousands And Thousands Of Years. Really Back To The Battle Between Jacob And Esau. ... The Islamic Faith Emanated From Esau."
In an interview with a conservative radio program in March, the neurosurgeon and Republican presidential candidate pointed out that, according to the book of Genesis, the Jewish and Islamic faiths descend from Jacob and Esau respectively. By implying that ISIS's roots trace directly to Esau, Carson sweepingly linked everyone who practices the Islamic faith to the extremist terrorist group.
Rand Paul: "[GOP Hawks] Created These People. ISIS Is All Over Libya Because These Same Hawks In My Party Loved ... Hillary Clinton's War In Libya."
In May, Paul boldly asserted that ISIS developed and continues to grow because of Republican support for the Middle Eastern policies of Hillary Clinton. Sure, the Kentucky senator might not be placing full blame on the former secretary of state, but claiming that any American political party directly created the extremist group is unreasonable to say the least.