AP NEWS

Trump takes heat for borrowing ‘mission accomplished’ from Bush

April 14, 2018

Social media erupted with criticism Saturday over President Trump tweeting the phrase “mission accomplished” -- which haunted former President George W. Bush during the Iraq war -- to summarize the latest U.S.-led missile strikes in Syria.

“I didn’t think I could be shocked by a tweet anymore but ‘mission accomplished’ was so surprising I had to double check that it was not a spoof,” said Sen. Brian Schatz, Hawaii Democrat, on Twitter.

Former Bush spokesman Ari Fleischer commented, “Um...I would have recommended ending this tweet with not those two words.”

Neera Tanden, head of the liberal Center for American Progress, said on Twitter, “Where have I heard Mission Accomplished after bombing a Middle East country?”

The phrase called up images of Mr. Bush giving a 2003 speech aboard an aircraft carrier, declaring the end of major U.S. combat missions in Iraq, with a banner proclaiming “Mission Accomplished” behind him. Mr. Bush came to regret the image as U.S. military involvement in Iraq continued throughout the rest of his presidency, and critics used it as shorthand for declaring victory too soon.

Mike Levin, a Democratic candidate for the U.S. House in California’s 49th congressional district, said on Twitter, “Even George W. Bush, who almost never admitted mistakes, said using that term was a bad decision. Congress needs to step up and minimize the chance that @realDonaldTrump similarly regrets his rhetoric.”

Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch, tweeted, “What mission accomplished?”

“Are Putin-Assad suddenly going to stop targeting civilians (main cause of civilian death)?” Mr. Roth said. “Is Assad any more likely to stop using chemical weapons than he was after the US retaliatory attack a year ago (when he kept using them)? Is Assad in The Hague?”

Mr. Trump said the airstrikes were “perfectly executed.”