One of the most widely mocked moments of the George W. Bush presidency occurred in 2003 when he stood on the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln and delivered a speech on the success of the Iraq invasion with a huge “Mission Accomplished” banner placed behind him.
Eight years later, the U.S. was still entangled in the Iraq conflict, and Bush never lived down his statement.
A perfectly executed strike last night. Thank you to France and the United Kingdom for their wisdom and the power of their fine Military. Could not have had a better result. Mission Accomplished!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 14, 2018
That last line certainly caught Twitter’s attention.
A phrase indelibly associated with the Iraq War and inaccurate early declarations. Trump ran against the Iraq War https://t.co/mg4U1nGE8v— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) April 14, 2018
I think there is a banner he can borrow https://t.co/2eAq1DVuSN— Carlos Lozada (@CarlosLozadaWP) April 14, 2018
Not surprised he used it as Trump’s entire memory of “Mission Accomplished” is likely, “President looking kick-ass in flight suit”— Seth Meyers (@sethmeyers) April 14, 2018
The last sentence of this tweet likely to cause POTUS some major grief. Has Assad been neutralized? Is his WMD capability neutralized? Are Russia & Iran bugging out? => https://t.co/BuQhGY6uRo— David M. Drucker (@DavidMDrucker) April 14, 2018
The last time a president used that last line ... it did not go well. https://t.co/uQnFv0XZhi— Josh Katzowitz (@joshkatzowitz) April 14, 2018
Even Bush’s press secretary cautioned against the use of the term.
Um...I would have recommended ending this tweet with not those two words. https://t.co/h5Fl7kjea6— Ari Fleischer (@AriFleischer) April 14, 2018
For the record, Bush regretted being associated with that phrase.
“Clearly, putting a ‘mission accomplished’ on an aircraft carrier was a mistake,” Bush said, via U.S. News and World Report. “It sent the wrong message. We were trying to say something differently but, nevertheless, it conveyed a different message.”
Either Trump doesn’t remember Bush’s “mission accomplished” disaster or he doesn’t care. Regardless, it’s hard to imagine that this will be the last time the U.S. has a military response for Syria, and it’s impossible to imagine that people will forget Trump’s bold proclamation.