It’s not so much the clandestine “deep state” that should concern supporters of President Trump’s most important campaign promises, but the shallow state that makes up a significant chunk of his cabinet.
On Monday, President Trump unenthusiastically recertified Iran’s compliance in the Obama administration’s nuclear deal with the terrorist regime. White House talking points expressed that Iran was in technical compliance, but violated the “spirit” of the deal.
The recertification debacle comes after a fierce last-minute effort to convince Trump of the deal’s merits, which was reportedly spearheaded by State Department chief Rex Tillerson and National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster. The two top advisers succeeded in getting the president to again renege on his vow to “rip up” the Iran deal upon entering office.
This is the second time that the Trump administration has recertified the deal. The statute mandates that the president decides whether to certify Iran’s compliance every 90 days.
On both occasions, Tillerson’s State Department — which remains stacked with Obama holdovers in prominent positions — attempted to boost the merits of the Iran deal. And both times, the president was reportedly dissatisfied with the department’s weakness in its messaging toward Iran.
The New York Times reports that the president continues to be extremely wary of the deal; he reportedly wants a decertification plan in place for backup.
After recertifying Iran the first time around, Trump wanted his deputies to “come back with a new strategy to confront Tehran,” the Times reports. The reporting on the matter appears to imply that Tillerson’s State Department was tasked with — and failed to — lead this effort.
In April, Tillerson tasked a delegation of Obama holdovers with investigating whether Iran is living up to its commitments in the nuclear deal. It’s not clear what they determined, but since then, Iran has … attempted a drone strike against American soldiers in Syria, threatened to attack U.S. interests worldwide, and also tested ballistic missiles in violation of international sanctions.
Tillerson, for his part, remains a proponent of the deal. A lifelong oil man, Tillerson has maintained close relations with Iran’s allies in Russia and Qatar.
McMaster’s National Security Council — which also remains populated mostly by Obama holdovers — has been equally off message regarding Trump’s “America-first” agenda. McMaster has fired conservatives while promoting leftist ideologues to positions of power. During his tenure, national security leaks have spiraled out of control, warranting a report by the Senate Homeland Security committee highlighting the epidemic.
But other players have emerged to stand up to Tillerson and McMaster’s pro-Iran deal lobbying. CIA Director Mike Pompeo and top adviser Steve Bannon have reportedly tried to convince the president to cancel the agreement and hold true to his campaign promises.
Though the president has recertified the nuclear deal until the fall, he has not given Iran a free pass entirely. On Monday, the White House announced new sanctions targeting Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), which is tasked with exporting its theocratic ideology worldwide. The sanctions also targeted the regime’s ballistic missile program and its support for international terrorist organizations.
The nuclear deal was supposed to change Iran’s behavior, but Tehran remains on its maniacal path dedicated to the destruction of Western Civilization. Iran continues to directly threaten the United States, and has called for Muslims to commit to holy war against American allies.
McMaster and Tillerson have temporarily revived the pulse of the Iran deal from the jaws of defeat. But Barack Obama’s signature foreign policy endeavor continues to be deeply unpopular to President Trump, leading many to conclude that it’s only a matter of time before the deal is dismissed.