Mark Wilson/Getty Images
Mark Wilson/Getty Images

President Donald Trump is becoming a master at the nonspeech speech, and nothing says nonspeech like Monday’s treatise on the 16-year war in Afghanistan.


Every man who has ever been caught cheating has given a nonspeech. It works like this: Throw out tons of misdirection; offer some truth; admit some fault—usually not the fault that you are being accused of; and then, when the person’s head is still spinning, bring the conversation back around to your original point (not the other person’s original point) and end that shit before you get called out on anything else.

Monday was supposed to be the president’s strategy on how to handle the “Make it last forever” war (Keith Sweat goat voice). In short, the president gave a 27-minute speech in which he did everything but talk about how we are going to win this war. He didn’t unveil a strategy. He didn’t explain a exit plan. In fact, he didn’t say much of anything.


Although Trump assured voters during his campaign that he would work to remove the United States from foreign conflict, his speech Monday confirmed what many who didn’t vote for Trump already knew: Trump doesn’t know what the hell he’s doing, and war is always good for his true base, the 1 percent. The money made from war is astronomical, and I’m sure Trump’s friends were pleased to learn that not only does the president not have any plans to stop the war in Afghanistan, but he doesn’t have any plans at all!

But let’s look at the nonspeech criteria and see how the president did.

Giving Misdirection

The president did make some good points alluding to the terrorist attacks (which he still won’t call terrorist attacks) in Charlottesville, Va., except that this is supposed to be a speech about war.


“A wound inflicted upon a single member of our community is a wound inflicted upon us all,” Trump said at the start of his address, CNN reports. “When one part of America hurts, we all hurt. And when one citizen suffers an injustice, we all suffer together.”

This is the equivalent of me being pressed out about cheating on my lady and then turning and saying:

Look, last night when I snuck downstairs to eat a row of Oreos in my sad place, I hit my toe on the couch, and you know that feeling when you hit your toe on the couch—that kind of pain where you hop a little and then have to walk funny for some seconds? In that moment I felt more connected to you through a joined pain because we suffer together.


It means nothing and has no place in this conversation. The president’s staff (because I don’t believe that the president has a soul or a conscience) knows that he’s been wrong about the attacks in Charlottesville since he opened his orange piehole, and has been trying to make this right ever since, but this speech wasn’t the time.

Offering Some Truth

By bringing the terrorist attacks in Charlottesville into the conversation, he was noting a truth that we can all agree on:

Yes, a wound inflicted upon one American is a wound inflicted upon us all. We get it. The problem is that this is off topic and doesn’t tell us anything about his plans in Afghanistan.


Here’s what Rep. Ruben Gallego, an Arizona Democrat and Marine Corps veteran, told CNN about Trump’s speech: “Tonight, the American people should have heard a detailed, realistic strategy with achievable objectives and measurable benchmarks. Instead, we got only vague promises and wishful thinking.”

Trump’s nonspeech speech lacked detail, strategy or vision for how America plans to win the war in Afghanistan. But a lack of vision and an inability to lead have been some of the strongest traits of this administration.


Admitting Fault

We all know that this is one of Trump’s biggest issues. This is a man who tweeted “Covfefe” and couldn’t come back and say, “Man, my blood pressure medicine had me loopy as shit!” Instead he had his press person come out and say, “The president and a few close people know exactly what he means.” So we go in knowing that this isn’t a man who will openly admit when he’s done anything even remotely wrong.


So with this as a base, I give you Trump’s attempt at falling on his sword:

That is why shortly after my inauguration, I directed Secretary of Defense [Jim] Mattis and my national security team to undertake a comprehensive review of all strategic options in Afghanistan and South Asia. My original instinct was to pull out. And historically, I like following my instincts.

But all my life I’ve heard that decisions are much different when you sit behind the desk in the Oval Office, in other words, when you’re president of the United States. So I studied Afghanistan in great detail and from every conceivable angle. After many meetings, over many months, we held our final meeting last Friday at Camp David with my Cabinet and generals to complete our strategy.


That’s it—a long draw of hot breath to say that he normally follows his instincts, but when it came to the war in Afghanistan, he couldn’t do that and he couldn’t follow his instincts because, like a child with a hammer, he just wants to break shit. Generals probably had to tell him to stand down.

Keep in mind, this is a man who dropped the “mother of all bombs” within his first two months in office, so you know he wanted to blow some shit up.


Thankfully, others around him were able to convince him that this wasn’t the best play. Also, who among us even remotely believes him when he claims to have “studied Afghanistan in great detail and from every conceivable angle”? Nigga, please.


Trump has no clue what he’s doing in office, and without Steve “Papa” Bannon calling the shots, I must admit that I’m confused, too. With Papa Bannon, a noted white nationalist, at the helm, at least I knew what we were in for, but this freewheeling Trump is flying by the seat of his pants. If Monday’s nonspeech speech is indicative of anything, it’s that Trump might be getting better at being worse.

Read more at CNN.

Senior Editor @ The Root, boxes outside my weight class, when they go low, you go lower.

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