Krauthammer: Defense spending increase ‘may not be enough’

On “Special Report with Bret Baier” Monday, Syndicated Columnist Charles Krauthammer told viewers the boost in defense spending as part of President Trump’s budget proposal “may not be enough.”

“Eight years ago, defense spending was at 4.6 percent of GDP. Today it's 3.2 percent,” said Krauthammer. “That is a catastrophic collapse.”

The Administration announced the Defense Department would receive an additional $54 billion dollars. During a National Governors Association meeting at the White House, Trump said the increase would be offset by other savings across the federal government.

Krauthammer called this proposal just a beginning of what is needed to rebuild military spending.

“We are in dire need with Russia, China and Iran rising of correcting that. This is a beginning of a down payment on what's really needed,” said Krauthammer.

Krauthammer on Congress: ‘It can’t get its act together’

Syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer said Wednesday on “Special Report with Bret Baier” that while many Americans are hoping the Republican-led Congress will tackle big ticket items like tax reform and health care this year, legislators in Washington seem incapable of acting on their own. 
“Here we have united government, or at least same party controlling everything, with a lot of momentum… And the great irony is that Congress has become so dependent on following the lead of a president, in general, [it is] allowing its powers to be usurped,” he said, adding, “One presidency after another, this is not the product of one party. But it's simply, now that it's in control, [Congress] can't get its act together.”
Instead, Krauthammer said lawmakers will continue to look to the White House for guidance.
“Unless you get strong presidential leadership, the president, say, next week in his quasi-State of the Union address saying this is what I want on tax reform and leading on it, that would be the decisive event,” he said, concluding, “In the absence of that, it's showing how, sort of, weak Congress has become, and how it's become habituated to looking to the White House for leadership. It's not getting it, it's not going anywhere.”

Riley on May press conference: “This was not Twitter Trump. This was President Trump.”

The Wall Street Journal’s Jason Riley told viewers Friday on “Special Report with Bret Baier” that President Donald Trump “was in fine form” at his first press conference as president today.

“This was not Twitter Trump. This was President Trump,” Riley said.

The press conference was a joint appearance with visiting British Prime Minister Theresa May. Riley noted that Trump took a more measured tone than usual.

“He was careful with his words. Very measured even when he got a couple of aggressive questions from some foreign media outlets,” commented Riley, adding, “I think we’ll have to see more of this if he wants a successful presidency but today I think he got the job done.”

Juan Williams discusses Trump tweets on Rep. John Lewis

On “Special Report with Bret Baier” Monday, Fox News Contributor Juan Williams discussed President-elect Donald Trump’s Twitter reaction to Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), who said in an interview with NBC that he doesn’t see Trump as a “legitimate President.”

“I think a lot of people, specifically people who know Civil Rights history, but I would say in particular black Americans of a certain age are just turned out, just think, ‘What is he saying? You can't say that about this guy,’” said Williams.

Trump took to Twitter the day after Congressman Lewis’ comments aired, saying in part that Lewis is “All talk, talk, talk - no action or results. Sad!” This was seen by critics as an untimely attack against a Civil Rights leader, just days before the federal holiday celebrating Martin Luther King Jr.

Williams also said the visit by Martin Luther King III to Trump tower on Monday was not a demonstration of reaching out.  

“[Trump] didn't take any questions…retreating into the elevator,” said Williams. “I hope he does more on Inauguration Day.”

Goldberg on Obamacare Repeal: “This is a very difficult position that the Republicans are in”

Fox News Contributor and National Review Senior Editor Jonah Goldberg said Wednesday on “Special Report with Bret Baier” that despite repeated promises to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act under the new 115th congress, “this is a very difficult position that the Republicans are in.”

Vice President-elect Gov. Mike Pence (R-IN) took to Capitol Hill on Wednesday to meet with congressional Republicans on the first full workday for the new Congress. After meeting with the House Republican Conference, Pence told reporters  “the American people have spoken.  They want to see us repeal and replace Obamacare, and today, my message to members of Congress is that we are going to be in the promise-keeping business, and the first order of business is to keep our promise to repeal Obamacare and replace it.”

Meanwhile, House Speaker Paul Ryan noted that after repealing Obamacare, as they work to implement a replacement plan House Republicans “want to make sure as we give relief to people through Obamacare, we do it in transition that doesn't pull the rug out from anybody  during that transition period.”

But even as the Vice President and congressional Republicans reiterated their pledge to repeal and replace Obamacare, Goldberg noted that doing so may not prove as simple as it sounds: “a lot of Obamacare passed with 60 votes, so you can't get rid of those parts through reconciliation.

“You can't keep all of the popular parts of Obamacare, which Donald Trump promises to do, and still call it repeal, it's something else. And lastly, because of Obamacare's own internal flaws, it's sort of like a suicidal dying patient and the Republicans are leaping in to be the doctor of record for the patient, and that's a real political problem for them. They can make it die faster, but they can't save it and they can't get a replacement for it very soon either.”

Krauthammer on Schumer pronouncement America can’t afford a Twitter presidency: “Sore loser”

Syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer said Tuesday on “Special Report with Bret Baier” that new Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s pronouncement that America “can’t afford a Twitter presidency” is mostly baseless.

“Sore loser,” Krauthammer said. “The tweets are working. I mean, if they weren’t, they wouldn’t be using them… Trump has used [Twitter] on North Korea, he’s used it on Ford, General Motors… and it works.”

Krauthammer went on to say that while Twitter has proven to be an effective mode of communication for the President-elect, Trump may not find it as useful after he is sworn in as president.

“I think when he's in office, it'll be a little more problematic, because people will be presuming policy out of this,” he said, concluding, “It's hard to be either detailed or specific enough in a tweet to actually make coherent policy.”

Stoddard on Obama’s Syria comments: ‘It was so painful for him’

RealClearPolitics associate editor A.B. Stoddard said Friday on “Special Report with Bret Baier” that she was moved by President Obama’s comments at his annual end-of-the-year press conference on the massacre of civilians in Syria

“I just thought it was very poignant to hear President Obama use phrases like, ‘We were not successful,’ and, ‘I feel responsible,’” she said. “He was so heavy with responsibility, and it was so painful for him.”

Stoddard explained that the president felt there were no easy choices in Syria, and that he believed it would be too much to ask Americans, who already were in the midst of two wars, to invade that country militarily and rescue its people.

“It was a very painful discussion about how there are no options, even for Donald Trump,” she said, concluding, “[President Obama’s remarks] set up for all of us going forward the lack of choices there are at this point, and how much Donald Trump will be boxed in trying to get out of the mess in Syria.

Krauthammer on Syrian Civil War: "Obama decision of doing nothing"- "We see the result now.'

Syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer said Thursday on "Special Report with Bret Baier" that Obama did not do enough to intervene in the Civil War in Syria. Saying "when the redline was crossed we were in a position, the French were gonna help us, of purely an attack from the air or cruise missiles to wipeout the Assad Airforce and to disable the airfields.  That is not invasion, that would have meant you can't drop the barrel bombs."  Krauthammer added "the job of a super power is to deter the other super power.  There was no penalty the Russians had to pay at any stage at tipping the balance in the war and that was a role we could have played short of anything like a ground invasion."

Krauthammer added that Obama's inaction led the Russians to take advantage "when the Russians started to maneuver we didn't have to invade."

He pointed out that "people talk about there are only two alternatives, the passivity of Obama which ended today with Aleppo or invasion." And added " to put it up as the only alternative is to back up the Obama decision of doing nothing and we see the result now."


Krauthammer on Democrats vowing to delay Trump Cabinet Confirmations: 'Revenge is not a good strategy for the Democrats'

Syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer said Tuesday on "Special Report with Bret Baier"  that if the Democrats want to hold up Trump's Cabinet confirmations as payback "they will suffer from that for 8 years."  Democrats are vowing to give Trump's picks the "Garland Treatment" after Obama's pick for the Supreme court, Merrick Garland, was held up.

Krauthammer warned the democrats of the optics of playing politics.  "Revenge is not a good strategy for democrats.  The one thing they don't want to be tagged with immediately is obstructionism."  Krauthammer added "this is going to look like naked partisanship and obstruction for its own sake."

When President Barack Obama entered the oval office congress approved 8 of his cabinet members without delay.  Krauthammer said "if these guys are going to stand around and do procedural stuff that you just show on television is going to look ridiculous."  While Krauthammer understands why you would hold up someone if you think they are extreme or unqualified, he told democrats  they shouldn't do it for revenge.  

Krauthammer on Trump’s conversation with Taiwan: ‘The Chinese are extremely sensitive’

Syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer said Friday on “Special Report with Bret Baier” that a telephone conversation between President-elect Trump and the Taiwanese president was not only politically incorrect, but it could have consequences for the United States’ relationship with China.

“The Chinese are extremely sensitive about these nuances in diplomacy. They've been at it for four thousand years, and the rules were laid down by Kissinger and Nixon when they made the opening, and it was that we'd be allies of Taiwan, but we would have to observe certain rules… that Taiwan is part of China,” Krauthammer said, adding, “Once you have communications with the president of the U.S. direct with the president of Taiwan, then you are impinging on that.”

Krauthammer went on to say that the Chinese can exert power when they feel they’re being wronged.

“The Chinese, when they get upset, can do things. Like take over an island here or there, or tear up an agreement, or start threatening, or do other things that could cause a crisis. I don't think that this is going to cause one, but when he ascends to office, Trump is going to have to be briefed on stuff like this,” he said, concluding that a diplomatic misstep, particularly in the Middle East could cause a “real rupture.”



Coming Up

While the number of illegal immigrants crossing the border declined after President Trump was elected, the drug cartels have stepped up their smuggling of huge amounts.

Tonight's All-Star Panel

  • Mollie Hemingway @MZHemingway
  • AB Stoddard @RealClearNews
  • Charles Krauthammer @krauthammer

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