- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 17, 2011

There’s something confusing, if not contradictory, about presumptive 2012 Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s Valentines Day interview on Fox News Channel’s “On the Record with Great Van Susteren.”

Mr. Trump’s central mantra this time around for his “Should I run for president?” circus is that America is getting ripped off by its allies and that as a nation, we’re not respected around the world. This is nothing but recycled rhetoric that he first unveiled in a widely published 1987 open letter entitled, “There’s nothing wrong with America’s foreign policy that a little backbone can’t cure!” The only difference this time is that instead of the Japanese and Saudis ripping us off, it’s China and South Korea.

In his interview with Ms. Van Susteren, Mr. Trump said he “likes Reagan,” given that he was a strong leader. As head of America’s foreign policy in 1987, exactly who was Mr. Trump aiming his disgust at if not President Reagan? According to Mr. Trump, we were the “laughingstock of the world” 24 years ago, yet the president who made us that joke is the man he admires most among recent presidents.

When asked about the recent pro-democracy movement in Iran that’s feeding off the Egyptian revolution, Mr. Trump cautioned that the Iranian dictatorship was more ruthless and the protesters could face a violent backlash. His fix to prevent this impending Tiananmen Square-like tragedy would be to threaten to go after the Iranian dictator Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

The problem with his answer is that in 2003, then-President George W. Bush enacted the greatest “go-after” decree in presidential history. The end result was that Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein was pulled from a spider hole and arrested. Mr. Trump’s reaction to this successful strategy was to call Operation Iraqi Freedom a “terrible mistake,” and Mr. Bush “the worst president in our history.”

Now that these contradictions are on the table, will anyone dare challenge Mr. Trump, or will they let him use the media as a platform to launch his presidential ambitions without question?

EUGENE R. DUNN

Medford, N.Y.