What about ‘Russia,’ Mr. President?

I didn’t expect Donald Trump to bring up “the Russia thing” during his State of the Union speech Tuesday night.

It would have required a suspension of disbelief to assume the president would say that a “year of the Russia probe is enough.” He wasn’t about to elevate special counsel Robert Mueller’s accelerated investigation into alleged collusion with Russian hackers by the Trump presidential campaign.

But I was hoping at some level that the president might bring up Russia’s interference in our 2016 presidential election at some level. Perhaps he could have at least pledged to protect our electoral process against actual or perceived foreign meddling, against those who would hack into our process and seek to determine an outcome they preferred.

He didn’t even have to acknowledge what the U.S. intelligence community has determined — that Russia did meddle in our 2016 election.

Contrary to the assertions of the White House press office, the Russia meddling is on the minds of millions of Americans who are concerned about what effect it might have had on the outcome. I am not yet convinced that the Russian hacking into our system was decisive, that they actually tilted the election in Trump’s favor.

Whether the Russians succeeded in their aim, though, misses the point. The point — as I get it — is that they did what they did and put the integrity of our system of “free and fair elections” in jeopardy.

That amounts to an act of open hostility by our nation’s preeminent international adversary.

And isn’t the president supposed to protect us against such assaults on our democratic system? Shouldn’t the president declare his intention to stop such interference in the future? And shouldn’t he put the international perpetrators on notice?

Donald Trump was silent on that matter.


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