Friday, December 30, 2016

What did Donald Trump do today?

He sided with Vladimir Putin against Obama administration sanctions, calling Putin "very smart" and saying his response to the situation was a "great move."

President Obama imposed economic and diplomatic sanctions on Russia in retaliation for its interference in the 2016 election. This was controversial: most Republican leaders (to say nothing of Democrats) said the sanctions were too little and too late.

Trump, however, continues to reject the conclusion of the FBI and CIA that Russia worked to get him elected (in spite of Trump's public request that Russia do exactly that). Trump has repeatedly praised Putin, and filled his campaign and administration with friends and former operatives of the Russian leader. This has raised questions about whether Trump may be vulnerable to bribery, blackmail, or psychological manipulation on Russia's part.

Why is this a bad thing?

  • It's wrong for a president-elect to side with a hostile foreign power against his own party, the sitting president, and the interests of the United States.
  • It's extremely bad if a president's actions raise questions about the degree of influence hostile foreign powers have over him.