Tag Archives: Russia

Trump shows his self-punishment gluttony

Donald Trump surely must be a glutton for punishment.

He has left the G7 meeting in France and now wants to play host to the next summit of the world’s economic powers at his Florida resort at Doral.

Can you say “Emoluments Clause,” anyone? Anyone?

That’s the part of the U.S. Constitution that makes it illegal for presidents of the United States to profit from their public service. You know, taking gifts from the foreign heads of state, kings, princes and potentates. That kind of thing.

So why is Trump pitching this idea of playing host to G7 powers at his glitzy estates? He still owns the place. He is still earning a substantial living from it. He didn’t divest his financial interests after taking office as president.

I don’t get this one single bit.

Trump kept delivering impromptu infomercials to his fellow G7 participants.

Then there’s this: He wants Russian strongman Vladimir Putin to attend the next G7 summit. Yep, Russia. The country got booted out of the G7 because of its aggression against Ukraine. The member nations made the call.

Yet the dictator’s BFF, Donald Trump, wants to give him a pass. Bring him back, says Trump. Let’s make the G7 the G8, even though Russia is a third-rate economic power.

Trump is inviting more trouble for himself.

Unbelievable.

Russia needs to change its ways, Mr. President

Mr. President, I know you’re busy hobnobbing with world leaders at the G7 summit, but bear with me for a moment or two.

You’re insistence that Russia be brought back into the group of leading industrialized nations misses at least a couple of  fundamental points.

First, the entire coalition of nations kicked Russia out of its ranks because of Vladimir Putin’s interference in Ukrainian affairs. It was President Obama’s deal; Obama wasn’t “outsmarted” by Putin or anyone else.

Yet you keep blaming your immediate predecessor for matters over which he had little actual singular impact. Knock that off, Mr. President.

Second, Russia is a third-rate industrial and economic power. It can barely feed its people. Several U.S. states produced more Gross Domestic Product than Russia. I’d bet real money that Texas, California, New York and Florida all outperform the Russian economy.

The G7 comprises economic powerhouses, Mr. President. Russia ain’t there. It’s a struggling Third World nation with admittedly lots of nuclear weapons held over from the Soviet days and the Cold War the USSR lost when it competed against the United States.

Why did the Soviet Union collapse? I’ll tell you why. It collapsed because the communists were spent. They ran out of gas. They couldn’t compete any longer with the West, the United States, with anyone. It faded into oblivion and left behind a corrupt, crime-ridden government that sought to create some form of “democratic” rule, but has devolved into the authoritarian system you seem to admire.

And why in the world do you want to be partners with a nation that attacked our electoral system in 2016? Oh, wait! I almost forgot! Putin said he didn’t do it and you believe him over the word of our crack intelligence team that says the Russians attacked us with the aim of getting you elected president.

Russia doesn’t deserve to be a part of any sort of coalition of industrialized powers. Not until it actually becomes one.

And for crying out loud, Mr. President, not until you finally, if ever, condemn the Russians for attacking the system of government you swore you would protect.

Your kowtowing to the Russians makes me sick.

Then again, so do you!

Yep, the biggest threat to the nation is its president

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee drew the biggest round of cheers tonight with what might have come off as a quip, but which — the more I think about it — now sounds like the brutal truth.

He and the nine other Democratic presidential candidates gathered on the debate stage in Miami were asked to name the greatest geopolitical threat to the United States: Inslee said it is Donald John Trump.

Not Russia. Nor the People’s Republic of China. Or Iran. Or terrorist organizations. Or even climate change, which happens to be Inslee’s signature campaign issue.

He said the biggest threat is the president of the United States of America. I agree with him.

Donald Trump is systematically destroying our alliances with Europe, with Asia, with Latin America. He’s gone after Australia and Canada, for crying out loud!

Donald Trump has isolated the nation from the rest of a shrinking world. He cozies up to tyrants — Kim Jong Un and Vladimir Putin being the most notable. He challenges the nation’s intelligence network’s findings. He makes foreign and domestic policy pronouncements via Twitter, without advising his senior policy  advisers.

Trump has burned through two national security advisers. He is talking openly about possible war with Iran without a defense secretary on board. He is reportedly losing patience with his third White House chief of staff.

Yes, Gov. Inslee was right. Donald Trump has become the greatest existential threat to the very nation he was elected to govern.

Wow!

Too early to call Trump worst POTUS in history?

Is it fair to ask whether Donald John Trump Sr. can be judged the worst president in U.S. history?

Events of just the past few days suggest he is making a run at being called The Worst Ever.

He cannot make up his mind. For instance, just in the past couple of days, the president:

  • Has declared his intention to push for immediate repeal of the Affordable Care Act and then has changed his mind, saying he intends to wait until after the next presidential election.
  •  Vowed to shut down the U.S. border with Mexico and then decided to back off, citing Mexico’s efforts to stem the tide of migrants coming through that country en route to this country.

That’s just two matters. They are so illustrative of the way this man governs. He issues policy pronouncements via Twitter, bypassing “the best people” he vowed to hire. He confounds allies, key aides, senators and House members, Cabinet officers, everyone.

He has made a hash of our international alliances.

Trump has burned through multiple Cabinet members in just the first half of his four-year term. He cannot fill critical posts.

The president trashes Americans who live in a severely damaged U.S. territory, Puerto Rico.

And then . . .

We have this Russia stuff. He cozies up to the Russian dictator and refuses to acknowledge that the dictator’s government has interfered in our electoral system.

He hails the exploits of dictators, disparages the work of U.S. intelligence officials. Trump vows that he “likes” a North Korean tyrant who starves his people.

My goodness, I have just scratched the surface.

The nation has elected a bunch of doozies during its 200-plus years of existence. James Buchanan is generally regarded as the worst president in history. My money, though, goes to William Henry Harrison, who caught pneumonia in Inauguration Day, 1841, was bed-ridden for a month and then died.

Donald Trump, through his series of unbelievable and astonishing missteps, gaffes, broken promises, insults and feuds is mounting a serious bid to become the worst U.S. president in history.

Stand tall, Mr. President.

Trump didn’t read what he’s criticizing?

This is amazing, even for Donald John “Liar in Chief” Trump.

The president has acknowledged that he didn’t read the intelligence report that challenges his assertions about ISIS, North Korea, Russian election interference and Iranian nukes.

And then he criticizes the reporting on it, saying that the media reportedly mischaracterized the intelligence chiefs’ analysis of what they have concluded. He called the reporting “fake news” and then declined to support the work of the people he appointed to lead our nation’s intelligence apparatus.

So, he didn’t read the report. He doesn’t know what it contains. He is jumping to conclusions about the most sensitive of national security matters.

Oh, wait! He went to the best schools, hired the best people, he knows the best words.

Donald Trump doesn’t need to read these reports. He gets his national security advice from “the TV shows.”

Yep. That’s how you make America great again.

I am scared.

Intel chiefs providing ‘fake news’? Are you serious, Mr. POTUS?

Donald J. Trump’s penchant for prevarication has taken a stunning new turn. Yes, it’s stunning even for this president of the United States.

He now says that his intelligence brain trust — three individuals he appointed to their posts — are providing “fake news” while challenging his own (false) assertions about the U.S. effort at combating terrorism around the world.

Trump’s handpicked appointees — Gina Haspel at CIA, Christopher Wray at FBI and Dan Coats as director of national intelligence — all say that North Korea still poses a nuclear threat, that ISIS is not defeated, that Russia interfered in our 2016 election and is planning to do the same thing in 2020.

Trump now says they were quoted “out of context” and that the media twisted their comments.

Huh? What the . . . ? Is this clown for real?

Good, ever-lovin’ grief! I’ve heard their complete comments given this week during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing. They weren’t taken out of context. There was nothing to dispute.

They have spoken, as the saying goes, “truth to power.” They are challenging Trump’s assertion that “ISIS is defeated,” that North Korea is “no longer a threat” and that Russian strongman Vladimir Putin has “denied” Russian interference in our election.

Simply astonishing!

NATO pullout back on the top shelf

In 2018, when Donald J. Trump decided to scold the leaders of our most trustworthy military alliance, he sounded like someone who wanted to pull the United States out of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

Those leaders need to pay more of their share of the defense of Europe, Trump said, or else face the consequences, which might involve a U.S. pullout.

Now, against that backdrop we have The New York Times report about an alleged investigation by the FBI into whether Trump was an “agent” of Russia.

The connection? Well, Russia wants NATO weakened badly. He would prefer that NATO be destroyed. Why is that? Because NATO came into being after World War II as a military alliance to defend Europe against the Soviet Union’s bloc of satellite nations. Russia, you’ll remember, was known as the Soviet Union from 1917 until 1991, when it collapsed under its own weight.

But NATO remains as a bulwark against Russian aggression. Therefore, Russia wants NATO to go away.

So, what connection is there between Donald Trump’s implied threat and Russia’s stated aim of ensuring that NATO withers away and dies? Is there a connection? Trump says “no!” I do not believe Trump’s declaration on its face. I want to know the truth.

If only I could find where the truth is hiding.

‘I have never worked for Russia’

I suppose I’d never thought I would hear the president of the United States have to answer such a question.

“Have you ever worked for Russia?” came the question from a reporter.

Donald J. Trump — who had fielded that question from Jeannine Pirro on Fox News — didn’t exactly say “no” to Pirro. Then he had to say it to the reporter on the White House grounds.

I find it astonishing in the extreme that the president of the United States would ever ask the question. It has become necessary because of The New York Times story that disclosed that the FBI launched an investigation into whether Trump had become an “agent” of Russia. I just will not believe the FBI launched this probe because someone inside the J. Edgar Hoover Building wanted to “get” the president.

Do you recall the time Richard Nixon felt compelled to tell the nation that “I am not a crook”? He wasn’t very convincing at the time he said it in 1973. It turned out that while he wasn’t a “crook” in the classic definition of the term, he was corrupt enough to have to quit just ahead of a certain impeachment and trial by Congress.

This is the backdrop we might be facing yet again with the presidency of Donald J. Trump. He has called the NY Times report an “insult” and says the questions about whether he worked for Russia are “insulting.”

Meanwhile, special counsel Robert Mueller is finishing — reportedly — his report we hope will get to the truth about Trump’s relationship with Russia, if any exist. The president keeps telling us there is no relationship. He keeps yapping about the “hoax” and that Mueller is in the middle of a “witch hunt.”

It’s just frightening on its face that our head of state, our commander in chief is having to answer questions about whether he works for the nation’s No. 1 geopolitical foe.

Finish your work, Mr. Special Counsel Mueller.

Trump parrots Kremlin line on Afghanistan

It’s impossible to believe that Donald Trump has said anything that, by itself, would doom his presidency. He has said so much, so often and with such idiocy that he should have been shown the door long ago.

Get a load, though, of what blurted from his pie hole during a 90-minute press availability in the Cabinet Room. He said the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in 1979 because “terrorists” were entering the USSR and that the Soviets were justified in responding as they did in invading the neighboring nation.

It’s been said already by others, but I’ll reiterate it here: The only other place where that fiction has been told has been in the Kremlin, where the Russian government is headquartered. No one else on Earth has ever said out loud and in public that terrorist incursions were the reason that the USSR invaded Afghanistan and fought the Afghans for a decade.

Which begs the question: What in the name of revisionist history is the president doing here? Some have suggested he is speaking the Russian line because he actually believes it, that the Russians have penetrated his skull with propaganda that no one else actually believes. Others suggest that Donald Trump, whose astonishing ignorance takes our breath away, simply doesn’t know what he’s saying, but that he is in love with the sound of his own voice.

The Wall Street Journal, with its right-leaning editorial page, has skewered the president with an editorial today. It said, “We cannot recall a more absurd misstatement of history by an American president.” Just think: The WSJ is owned by Rupert Murdoch, a friend and ally of Trump who also owns the president’s favorite cable TV network, Fox News.

I do not know what prompted Trump’s utterly ridiculous assertion. The best case is that it is the product of blind ignorance. The worst case is that Russian dictator Vladimir Putin has something on the president, that Trump is now officially frightened to the point of reciting Russian propaganda regarding one of the signature episodes of the Cold War.

Whatever the case, for the president of the United States to so egregiously mischaracterize one of the world’s darkest moments is frightening on its face.

Donald Trump is unfit to occupy his high and exalted office.

Mattis quits; so goes Trump’s last ‘best’ person

I am saddened but not shocked to hear the news that rocketed out of Washington, D.C. today. Defense Secretary James Mattis has resigned.

What is astonishing is the tone of the resignation letter Mattis sent to the president of the United States. He calls out the commander in chief for his failure to be more “resolute” in his approach to Russia and China. He also tears into the president for his treatment of our geopolitical allies and then declares that Trump has the right to have a defense secretary whose views “align” more with the president.

Mattis’s views do not, as the letter makes clear.

This is a serious blow to the defense of our nation. Mattis is a serious man, a retired Marine Corps four-star general, a man who has seen combat. He is a patriot, a warrior a student of foreign policy.

That this man would resign effective Feb. 28, just after the second year of the Trump administration, is stunning enough. That he would call out the commander in chief, who makes foreign and defense policy decisions on impulse and whim, is utterly breathtaking in its scope.

Read the letter here

One more takeaway from the letter: Mattis does not express gratitude for serving the president. He does express pride in serving the men and women in uniform and for serving the nation he loves.

Will any of this register in any tangible manner with the commander in chief? I wouldn’t bet my last dollar on it.