Friday, February 2, 2018

What did Donald Trump do today?

He blamed his inability to get Michael Flynn's deputy an ambassadorship on "Democrats."

K.T. McFarland, most recently the deputy national security advisor brought in under Michael Flynn, withdrew herself from consideration to be the US ambassador to Singapore today. Flynn was almost immediately forced from the national security job when the Washington Post proved that he'd lied about contacts with Russia. He has since pled guilty to lying to the FBI and is cooperating with the Mueller investigation.

McFarland lied to Congress last July when she claimed she had no knowledge of Flynn's secret December 2016 contacts with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak, in which Flynn and the Putin regime coordinated about how to react to then-President Obama's imposition of sanctions. (Putin did not immediately retaliate, drawing effusive praise from then-president-elect Trump.) 

The special counsel's investigation subsequently revealed e-mails in which McFarland was shown helping to plan Flynn's strategy in advance of those secret talks. Those same e-mails also show McFarland worrying about the importance of Trump maintaining good ties with Russia, "which has just thrown the U.S.A. election to him." (McFarland now claims she was speaking sarcastically.)

Trump fired James Comey in an attempt to keep the FBI from looking into Flynn's Russian ties, so his gentle treatment of McFarland--including trying to give her an ambassadorship after she was summarily dismissed by McMaster--is likely for the same reasons. In his statement today, Trump blamed "some Democrats" who "chose to play politics" for her withdrawal.

Democrats control neither house of Congress and could not have stopped McFarland from being confirmed if Republican senators had been willing to vote for her.

So what?

  • Blaming other people for your own mistakes isn't a good quality in a president.
  • Ambassadorships are positions of public trust, not bribes or consolation gifts.