Category Archives: International news

Trump makes it all better? Hardly

Donald J. Trump today sought to insert a single word in a statement he made standing next to Russia’s Vladimir Putin.

He said Monday that he “saw no reason to believe Russia would” meddle in the 2016 presidential election.

Today? Donald Trump said he “saw no reason to believe Russia would not” meddle.

There you have it. The president misspoke, he said, with an error of omission. He didn’t say “not” in Putin’s presence when he should have said it.

Is this good enough? Does this make it all better now, that the president of the United States really and truly stands behind our intelligence experts’ view that Putin and the Russians attacked our electoral system?

Let me think for a second about that.

Umm. No. It doesn’t make it better.

What we need now is a statement of outrage and condemnation of Russia, of Putin, of the goons who’ve been indicted by a federal grand jury that they conspired to interfere in our election.

Is any of that on the way?

Hmm. Probably not.

Day of infamy? Maybe, to a degree

Jill Wine-Banks is a partisan Democrat and a lawyer who served on the legal staff of the Senate select committee that examined the Watergate scandal of the 1970s.

She needs, though, to calm down a bit while commenting on Donald Trump’s disgraceful performance at that Helsinki press conference with Vladimir Putin.

She said to describe the president’s comments about Russian meddling in our 2016 presidential election: “His performance today will live in infamy as much as the Pearl Harbor attack or Kristallnacht.”

Whoa, Mme. Counselor. Hold on!

Thousands of American sailors and airmen died at Pearl Harbor. Thousands of European Jews died during Kristallnacht.

No one has died as a result of Donald Trump’s disgraceful comments. I agree that Trump’s disparagement of our intelligence service and his embrace of Putin’s denial of wrongdoing regarding Russian meddling will live in infamy.

However, may we hold back on the hyperbole?

No ‘reporting’ necessary on this spectacle

Donald John “Stable Genius” Trump Sr. today posted this item via Twitter: While I had a great meeting with NATO, raising vast amounts of money, I had an even better meeting with Vladimir Putin of Russia. Sadly, it is not being reported that way – the Fake News is going Crazy!

Let’s see. I need to catch my breath.

There. Breath caught.

I wish to to take note of something that’s been lost on the president of the United States.

Many of us witnessed in real time the president’s astonishing defense of Vladimir Putin. He took the U.S. intelligence community to task for determining that Russia attacked our electoral process in 2016.

There is no “reporting” necessary to tell viewers what they saw in the moment. The president groveled at Putin’s feet. He elevated the leader of a declining power to his own level as the leader of the world’s greatest nation. He gave comfort to an adversarial state.

Donald Trump has the gall, the stones to lay all this on what he calls “fake news”?

Mr. President, many of us watched this unfold before our eyes.

Donald Trump has delivered to Americans yet another shameful demonstration of ignorance.

Resignations should be forthcoming … but will they?

Jon Huntsman should resign immediately as U.S. ambassador to Russia.

John Kelly, the retired Marine Corps general, should hasten his departure and quit as White House chief of staff.

Dan Coats, the former Republican senator, should quit as director of national intelligence.

John Bolton, newly installed as national security adviser, needs to quit, too.

These individuals all have been tossed under the proverbial bus by the president of the United States. Donald J. Trump managed during that jaw-dropping press conference with Vladimir Putin to castigate the U.S. intelligence agencies that have determined Russia attacked our system of government.

Trump has undermined U.S. diplomacy. He has denigrated our intelligence-gathering process. He has weakened the nation he pledged to defend and to strengthen. He has demonstrated a level of ignorance, arrogance and acquiescence that none of us thought would be possible in the president of the United States.

It is enough for Vladimir Putin, the former KGB boss — the top spook in the Evil Empire — to deny doing what the intelligence agencies said he did. Yep, Donald Trump takes Putin at his word, which is about as credible as anything that flies out of the president’s mouth.

I am not holding my breath for any resignations to be forthcoming.

Maybe, though, there might be some spine-stiffening taking place at this very moment.

Condemnation takes bipartisan tone

How in the world will all this play out?

Donald J. Trump has sided with Russia’s strongman in his denial that he ordered the interference in our 2016 presidential election. The president has cast doubt on the assessments of our own intelligence community that the Russians did meddle, that they did attack our electoral process.

What’s happened since that jaw-dropping presser that Trump had with Vladimir Putin? The Republican leadership in Congress has joined their Democratic colleagues in condemning the president’s unbelievable performance.

As The Hill reported: “I have great confidence in my intelligence people, but I will tell you that President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today,” Trump told reporters in Helsinki.

GOP Senate candidate Mitt Romney (and 2012 presidential nominee), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Speaker Paul Ryan, U.S. Sen. John McCain (and 2008 presidential nominee), Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr all are saying the same thing — more or less: The president delivered an “embarrassing” and “shameful” performance in Helsinki.

What happens now? What will the congressional leadership of the president’s own party do about any of this?

And get a load of this: Dan Coats, the former GOP senator from Indiana who now serves as director of national intelligence, is standing with his intelligence authorities’ belief that Russians are guilty as charged of attacking our democratic process.

My head is spinning. I need to sit down, catch my breath and try to make sense of what has transpired.

So many ‘tipping points’ …

There have been so many instances where you think, yep, this is it … this is where Donald John Trump goes down for the count.

Then he gets up.

He denigrates a Vietnam War hero such as Sen. John McCain. He mocks a disabled New York Times reporter. He brags about grabbing women by their private parts. He disparages a Gold Star family that happens to worship the Islamic faith.

He survived all of those so-called “tipping points” en route to the presidency of the United States.

Today, though, provided the world a fresh glimpse of the Donald Trump many of us feared would present himself. He denigrated the U.S. intelligence network’s belief that Russian goons attacked our 2016 election system, they attacked our very democratic system of government.

He did so in the presence of the man U.S. spooks say ordered it: Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The president of the United States, for the first time in many historians’ memory, has relegated defense of our democratic system to second place behind fealty to the leader of a hostile foreign power.

Who in the world ever thought they would see such an event, or hear the president say what he said today in casting doubt on our intelligence experts’ view that Russia sought to influence the outcome of a presidential election?

We have crossed a new threshold in this country. We now are treading on treacherous ground.

If only the so-called “patriots” within the Republican Party — the president’s own party — would stand up and say: Enough is bloody enough!

Yes, it was ‘disgraceful’

“Disgraceful and detrimental to our democratic principles.”

Yep, that about sums it up.

Donald Trump today disgraced himself and the presidency and the country he was elected to lead. He stood with Vladimir Putin and accepted the Russian president’s denial of meddling in our 2016 election. He also then denigrated the U.S. intelligence community’s assessment that the Russians did, in fact, attack our electoral process.

The statement above comes from Mitt Romney, the Republican Party’s 2012 presidential nominee. He isn’t alone in criticizing the president. Indeed, one might be able to hear a growing drumbeat of recrimination coming from within the GOP against the party’s titular leader.

This isn’t how to “make America great again.” Nor is it in any way a strategy to “put America first.”

‘Peace for our time,’ 2.0?

Eighty years ago, a British prime minister stood before the world after meeting with Adolf Hitler and declared there would be “peace for our time.”

Neville Chamberlain’s prediction in 1938, of course, proved to be tragically flawed. World war broke out in September 1939. He was run out of office and has been labeled the world’s most shameful appeaser.

Ladies and gentlemen, I believe today we witnessed a reprise of that moment with Donald J. Trump’s appeasement of Vladimir Putin. Yes, I am going to equate those two hideous examples of weakness.

The president of the United States of America today stood before the world and actually accepted the word of a former KGB spy over the exhaustive work of our intelligence community that the Russians attacked our electoral process in 2016.

Putin said there is “no evidence” of interference. Trump — if you can believe — then denigrated the work of our CIA, the director of national intelligence, the National Security Agency, the FBI, the Department of Justice, which all have said the Russians launched a full-scale attack on our electoral system.

How in the world is history going to judge this shameful exhibition of weakness, of appeasement? The two leaders met today in Helsinki behind closed doors. They faced the international media and then we all heard back here at home our commander in chief give tragically short shrift to this attack on our system of government.

I won’t go as far as former CIA Director John Brennan, who declared Trump’s performance an act of “treason.” I am, however, inching closer to that conclusion.

We have just witnessed a disgraceful display of weakness by the leader of the world’s strongest nation.

Move over, Prime Minister Chamberlain. You’ve got company in the diplomatic hall of shame.

Yes, Mr. POTUS, however …

Donald J. Trump said the following in advance of his meeting today with Vladimir Putin: “I think we will end up having an extraordinary relationship. I really think the world wants to see us get along.”

Great, Mr. President. I happen to agree with the notion that the “world wants to see us get along.”

But first things first.

Donald Trump needs to clear the air, lay down the law, get down to brass tacks … pick your throw-away phrase.

The president needs at the outset to deal forthrightly and in the strongest terms possible with the notion that Russian meddling in our electoral process is a total non-starter. He cannot continue to pass the Russian attack on our system of government off as somehow routine. He cannot say that “everyone does it,” and that the Russians are no worse than any other great power that seeks to do the same thing.

The two men are meeting at this moment. Whatever they said to each other behind closed doors remains a mystery.

I want to have faith that the president of the United States would give the president of Russia the trashing he deserves for doing what he did in 2016.

I am saddened at the lack of such faith that Donald Trump will do the right thing on behalf of the electoral system he took an oath to protect and defend.

Only then could the nations “get along.”

Immigration doesn’t harm culture

I just heard once again Donald J. Trump’s comments about “immigration” in Europe.

He told The Sun newspaper in London about how “immigration” was harming Europe. How it was hurting Europe’s “culture.” How it was going to change the continent “and not in a good way.”

What I didn’t hear from Donald J. Trump’s mouth was the word “illegal” preceding the word “immigration” or “immigrants.”

So, what are we to presume? I’ll take a leap and suggest that Trump doesn’t favor immigration. He believes the immigrants who are going to Europe — legally or as refugees from persecution in, say, the Middle East or Africa — present a problem for Europe.

Doesn’t the Xenophobe in Chief understand the value that immigrants bring to any region of the world? He, of course, has declared open warfare against immigrants who want to enter the United States. Yes, I understand that he has zeroed in on illegal immigrants. However, he continues to paint them all with the same broad brush, making damning presumptions about all of them: they’re coming here to commit violent crimes against Americans.

Fascinating, yes, coming from someone who has been married to two women who were immigrants, one from Czechoslovakia and one from Slovenia.

So what does the president presume to know about European “culture” that suggests immigration endangers it?

Moreover, how does he define “European culture”? Does he actually believe that the continent of Europe comprises sovereign nations that adhere to a singular culture?

We see yet again another demonstration of the president’s ignorance about the world, not to mention the very nation he was elected to lead.