WFTV alum pushes defense secretary for action on Iran
Before the United States killed an Iranian general in Iraq, Fox News anchor Leland Vittert on Thursday took a hawkish approach to questioning Defense Secretary Mark Esper.
Might President Donald Trump have been watching?
Vittert, who worked previously as a reporter at Orlando’s WFTV-Channel 9, questioned Esper on “America’s Newsroom.” Esper said Iran needed to stop its “bad behavior” of more than 40 years and start “acting like a normal country.”
“It’s a long list of bad behavior, and I’m glad you brought that up,” Vittert told Esper. “It’s a little bit like a sandbox from grade school. Sometimes bullies don’t understand sanctions, they don’t understand tough talk, deployment, airstrikes against proxies. Bullies understand a punch in the nose. Is there a time that the Iranian bullies and the ayatollahs need a punch in the nose to their leadership that goes beyond merely sanctions and rhetoric?”
The anchor sounded more like an editorialist pushing for action than an interviewer.
Esper said he wouldn’t speculate about the next steps. But he reiterated that Iran needed to behave like a normal country. He listed demands, such as Iran ending its nuclear program and hostage taking. But Vittert pressed.
“I get the demand, sir, but it appears the Iranian regime is not really listening,” Vittert said. “As you noted, they attacked the Saudi oil facilities and there was not a military response. They shot down the U.S. drone, and there was not a military response. So far there’s only been a military response against their militias in Iraq. Is the idea here that only the loss of U.S. life will result in a U.S. military response?”
Esper said the international community needed to come together and tell Iran to behave like a normal country.
Vittert said that was a good point, then asked: “Are you worried that the only way they will back down this time and act like a normal country is with an overwhelming U.S. military action?”
Esper replied: “Well, it’s up to them to decide. We’ve told them what they need to do on multiple occasions. We’re prepared again to defend ourselves and defend our interests. We’ve shown a willingness to exercise and use the military to do so.”
The U.S. later killed the Iranian general, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the action saved U.S. lives.
“Sometimes bullies don’t understand sanctions, they don’t understand tough talk, deployment, airstrikes against proxies. Bullies understand a punch in the nose.” Leland Vittert, Fox News anchor who is also an alum of WFTV-Channel 9 in Orlando.