Friday, September 4, 2020

What did Donald Trump do today?

Russian president Vladimir Putin's most effective opposition leader, Alexei Navalny, was poisoned last month. He was eventually allowed to seek medical treatment in Germany, after a delay. German investigators confirmed yesterday that Navalny was poisoned with Novichok, an extremely potent nerve agent that the Putin regime has used on its opponents in the past.

Governments around the world—other than the United States—immediately condemned Russia. The Secretary-General of NATO called the German government's findings "proof beyond doubt." But Trump, asked about it today, would only say that he hadn't seen any proof:

TRUMP: So, I don't know exactly what happened. I think that it is tragic. It is terrible. It should not happen. We have not had any proof yet.

Trump then scolded reporters for worrying about Russia, when "China at this point is probably a nation that you should be talking about much more so than Russia." 

China is not suspected in the assassination attempt of a Russian opposition leader.

He also added, "I do get along with President Putin." It's certainly true that Putin and Trump seem to get along. Although they've spoken frequently in recent months, Trump has refused to do anything about the bounty that Russia put on the heads of American soldiers, in an attempt to derail the Afghanistan peace process. 

In return, Russia has once again launched disinformation campaigns aimed at the 2020 election, coordinated exactly with the Trump campaign message. The Trump administration was caught recently trying to hide an intelligence report showing that Russia was echoing Trump's attempt to get voters to believe Joe Biden was mentally ill. And Russia is also trying to directly undermine Americans' faith in the legitimacy of the election—in exactly the same way that the Trump campaign is.

How is this a bad thing?

  • The President of the United States' first loyalty needs to be to the United States, not the leaders of hostile foreign powers he "gets along" with.
  • It's un-American and illegal to get help from a foreign country in trying to influence an election.
  • It's wrong to run interference for dictators trying to murder their opposition.