June 20, 2024


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Morning Glory: Trump’s short list for vice president all agree on one thing

‘President Trump himself is a deterrent.’

That’s what North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum told me as we discussed the threat the People’s Republic of China poses to Taiwan and to the United States and indeed to all of the West. I had already cited to Governor Burgum former Trump National Security Advisor Ambassador O’Brien’s new essay for Foreign Affairs ‘The Return of Peace Through Strength,’ the April piece by Admiral Mike Studeman (USN, Ret.) for ‘War On The Rocks’ titled ‘China Is Battening Down for the Storm Over Taiwan,’ and Sir Niall Ferguson’s essay for The Free Press: ‘We’re All Soviets Now.’ Burgum completely understands the deep chasm at the edge of which we stand as a consequence of the pitiful weakness of President Joe Biden.

America has lost the ability to deter the alliance of evil autocrats around the world. Think about it: The Houthis have the United States Navy tied down and unable to defeat them. The Houthis! To get deterrence back we need to do many things, all of them laid out by Ambassador O’Brien in his important statement of America’s urgently necessary new goals and changes in national security policy. 

(There’s no wonder why Ambassador O’Brien is so widely admired across the political spectrum—he’s as serious about the threats to America as Trump is. That’s why O’Brien worked in sync with Trump so well: He listened to the former president and implemented his national security instructions just as former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and former Directors of National Intelligence Ric Grenell and John Ratcliffe did.)  

But before being to administer O’Brien’s remedies and embracing Trump enthusiastically, first the doubters in the country have to understand our nation’s peril, which is what Studeman and Ferguson lay out in detail.

The step upon which all of O’Brien’s prescriptions depend—and they are excellent—is the re-election of former (and I hope future) President Trump.

A second necessary step is the return of the GOP majority in the House and recapture of the Senate majority by the Republicans. We don’t need a red wave. We need—the country needs—a red tsunami. 

We have to approach this election as though World War III looms, because it does if Biden and his risible ‘advisors’ (read handlers) stay in power. Appeasement hasn’t worked and Team Biden has tried hard to make it work. It doesn’t. It has failed as thoroughly as it did in the 1930s. There is no sign, not even the faintest signal, that the appeasers will change course even after defeat after staggering defeat pile up. 

Polling suggests such an election wave might be forming, but there are still two debates between Presidents Biden and Trump ahead, and the two party conventions as well as events beyond anyone’s control in the offing over the next five months. 

It could all break right, as it did in 1980. There are 11 Senate races where the seat is in Democratic hands right now and where Republicans are running credible campaigns. Trump is running a very good campaign to date, ably assisted by strategists Susie Wiles and Chris LaCivita. Speaker Mike Johnson has brought stability to a House GOP caucus rent by deep divisions. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senator Steve Daines, who leads the National Republican Senatorial Committee, have focused all resources on regaining the GOP majority. What we desperately need as a country could in fact happen.  

While Trump’s energy remains seemingly endless, President Biden is faltering in real time in ways that his staff cannot control or minimize. We all see it. We all hear it. These are not ‘deep fake’ videos or even clips in the new category invented by the White House of ‘cheap fakes,’ which is a dog whistle to left wing journalists to rally around Biden and denounce the film or audio bits the Biden campaign hates. It hasn’t worked. Everybody knows Biden is fading. 

That said, I suspect President Biden will do well enough in both debates and in his convention speech to stop a revolt of his party’s base. He will rest and practice, and entire organizations in legacy media are deeply biased towards him and that will show in the conduct of the debates and the coverage afterwards. 

No matter. Americans know what they are paying for groceries and gas. Americans know more than 10 million migrants have come into America across the southern border during Biden’s tenure. Friends of Israel know what the Biden incoherence on Israel’s multi-front war has done to our closest ally in the region. Americans remember the collapse in Afghanistan. Americans also remember Biden telling first Russia and then Iran ‘Don’t,’ only to see both regimes ignore him, as the former invaded Ukraine and the latter attacked Israel directly. 

Americans don’t want to be the second most powerful nation in the world and headed further down. We also don’t want World War III. We definitely don’t want President Harris.

And we neither want a visibly declining incumbent or a ‘switchero’ candidate swapped in for Biden at the convention or even latter as Democrats did with the politically failing Senator Robert Torricelli who in 2002 was swapped out for former Senator Frank Lautenberg 35 days before the election that year. Lautenberg won despite the scandal of the last minute switchero. It’s what Democrats do. They play hardball politics and they play to win. Recall CNN’s story from 2008: ‘In his first race for office, seeking a state Senate seat on Chicago’s gritty South Side in 1996, Obama effectively used election rules to eliminate his Democratic competition.’

Again, Team D plays to win. But so does Trump. More important than either of those facts is that so does Xi Jinping and the dictators in his orbit, including Putin and Khamenei.

Read O’Brien, Studeman and Ferguson. Read or listen to Burgum or the others on Trump’s short list for Vice President including Senator Tom Cotton, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Senator Marco Rubio and Governor Glenn Youngkin. What do all five of these men agree on? ‘President Trump himself is a deterrent.’ 

America needs to understand that’s exactly the first step in restoring deterrence we, and all of the West, needs.

Hugh Hewitt is host of ‘The Hugh Hewitt Show,’ heard weekday mornings 6am to 9am ET on the Salem Radio Network, and simulcast on Salem News Channel. Hugh wakes up America on over 400 affiliates nationwide, and on all the streaming platforms where SNC can be seen. He is a frequent guest on the Fox News Channel’s news roundtable hosted by Brett Baier weekdays at 6pm ET. A son of Ohio and a graduate of Harvard College and the University of Michigan Law School, Hewitt has been a Professor of Law at Chapman University’s Fowler School of Law since 1996 where he teaches Constitutional Law. Hewitt launched his eponymous radio show from Los Angeles in 1990.  Hewitt has frequently appeared on every major national news television network, hosted television shows for PBS and MSNBC, written for every major American paper, has authored a dozen books and moderated a score of Republican candidate debates, most recently the November 2023 Republican presidential debate in Miami and four Republican presidential debates in the 2015-16 cycle. Hewitt focuses his radio show and his column on the Constitution, national security, American politics and the Cleveland Browns and Guardians. Hewitt has interviewed tens of thousands of guests from Democrats Hillary Clinton and John Kerry to Republican Presidents George W. Bush and Donald Trump over his 40 years in broadcast, and this column previews the lead story that will drive his radio/ TV show today.

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