Liberal talk-show host Bill Maher laid into Democrats and cable news pundits for their praise of President Trump’s military strike on Syria’s Shayrat airfield in response to a chemical weapons attack that killed 80 people on Tuesday.
The Republicans’ positive response to the strike was expected, Maher said. “They got their two favorite things: [Neil Gorsuch] on the Supreme Court and Trump finally blowing some s— up.”
But Maher was angered by the reaction Trump’s strike elicited from cable news pundits and journalists. “Even the liberals were all over this last night,” he said Friday night. “Everybody loves this f—— thing. Cable news loves it when they show footage of destroyers firing cruise missiles at night. It’s America’s money shot.”
And cable news did love it. Trump was widely lauded by television media and political commentators in the aftermath of the military strike.
CNN’s Fareed Zakaria said Friday morning that Trump “became President of the United States” when he authorized the missile launch Thursday night.
— New Day (@NewDay) April 7, 2017
David Ignatius, a columnist for the Washington Post, said on MSNBC Friday morning that, “In terms of the credibility of American power, I think most traditional Washington commentators would say he’s put more umph, more credibility back into it.”
MSNBC’s Brian Williams said he was “guided by the beauty of our weapons, and they are beautiful pictures of fearsome armaments making what is, for them, a brief flight over to this [Syrian] airfield…”
Brian Williams waxing lyrical about the beauty of weapons—what in the world is this? pic.twitter.com/3hoxCgCfP1
— Taniel (@Taniel) April 7, 2017
Multiple news networks replayed footage of the cruise missiles being launched while commentary continued in the background.
But some took on a more measured tone, urging people to refrain from cheering on military action that could result in injury and death.
Veteran journalist Dan Rather said in a Facebook post after the strike, “There is a tendency to rally around the flag, and a President who takes on a war footing can see a boost of support.”
He continued: “The number of members of the press who have lauded the actions last night as ‘presidential’ is concerning. War must never be considered a public relations operation. It is not a way for an Administration to gain a narrative. It is a step into a dangerous unknown and its full impact is impossible to predict, especially in the immediate wake of the first strike.”
Trump’s strike on the Shayrat airfield disabled the base for a few hours, before Syrian warplanes again started taking off from the field.