Rubio: Bergdahl Release was Part of Miscalculated PR Campaign

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) recently weighed in on President Obama’s decision to release five “high risk” Guantanamo Bay detainees as part of a deal with the Taliban to bring home Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.

On Mark Levin’s radio show, Rubio suggested that the Bergdahl release was the third part of a week-long “political messaging exercise” that sought to bolster the president’s image as Commander-in-Chief.

“Last Monday, he flew in on Memorial Day to Afghanistan… Then he came back and gave a speech at West Point, and then he did this,” Rubio said.

The timeline is convincing. The President’s Memorial Day trip to Afghanistan was May 26, the West Point Speech was May 28, and the Bergdahl release occurred on May 31. On the day of the release, President Obama made the announcement in the Rose Garden with Bergdahl’s parents flanking him on either side.

The alleged messaging campaign broke up the media’s weeks-long coverage of the VA scandal that was casting President Obama’s image as commander-in-chief in a negative light. The President’s poll numbers were dropping amidst claims that he was “detached.” The White House  likely thought the Bergdahl deal would bring a hero’s welcome, but that has not been the case.

Reports that Bergdahl’s desertion led to the deaths of several of his comrades, in addition to claims that he may have even been a defector, has turned public sentiment from mixed to outraged. Bergdahl’s hometown even canceled its homecoming celebration amidst the controversy.

21gitmo_combo-popup“I don’t think they accounted for how outraged the American people would be about the fact that five anti-American terrorist killers (were released), who we’ll soon be fighting against us again,” said Rubio. “These five guys are going to be on the battlefield sooner rather than later.”

Rubio also penned an op-ed detailing how the release of the Taliban leaders will endanger Americans.

In addition to boosting President Obama’s image as commander-in-chief, the week-long messaging campaign may have also meant to highlight the fact that the president is seeking to bring the War in Afghanistan to a close by the end of his presidency. In an interview with NBC’s Brian Williams, Obama himself made this connection.

“It’s also important for us to recognize that the transition process of ending a war is going to involve, on occasion, releasing folks who we may not trust but we can’t convict,” he said, reiterating his desire to “whittle down” the number of detainees in the Guantanamo Bay detention facility. President Obama’s plan to end the War in Afghanistan has been one of his most popular policies, and he also promised to close Guantanamo Bay during the 2008 presidential campaign.

Whatever President Obama and his communications team were trying to do, it’s clear that it has backfired. Now, instead of being lauded as a great commander-in-chief against a backdrop of an American soldier’s glorious homecoming, the President is facing hearings on whether he broke a law that requires he notify Congress at least 30 days prior to a Guantanamo Bay detainee release.

“He violated the law,” Rubio said, echoing what has been stated by a multitude of legal analysts and lawmakers. Judge Andrew Napolitano went the next step to declare that Obama was “aiding and abetting the enemy” by giving the Taliban very valuable human assets.

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