When working class whites fell for Donald Trump's "Make America Great Again" sales pitch I suspect that few thought the route to "greatness" would be via further subservience to Vladimir Putin's dictatorial regime Russia bashing civil rights icons and television shows. However, over the weekend that was what Der Fuhrer was obsessed with as he tweeted away like a demented teenage girl. As a piece in New York Magazine notes, if you are denying that Russia has blackmail goods on you, why further cozy up to Putin and suggest that you will lift sanctions against Russia? Then of course their is the bashing of John Lewis - a man Trump claims never did anything - over Martin Luther King weekend. Given Trump's past documented anti-black bigotry, it is certainly not the type of action that unites people even if it plays well with white supremacists in the South and Mid-West. Here are article highlights:
If you’ve just acknowledged that Russia hacked your political opponent and you’re embroiled in a scandal over unverified claimed that you’ve been compromised by Moscow, publicly signaling your openness to Russia and its policy goals is not the logical next move. But for whatever reason, that’s how Donald Trump chose to spend his weekend – when he wasn’t lashing out at a civil rights icon and a sketch comedy TV show.
On Friday Trump told the Wall Street Journal that he’ll keep the sanctions the U.S. imposed against Russia over its alleged election cyberattacks and annexation of Crimea “at least for a period of time.” However, he said he’s open to lifting them if Russia helps achieve U.S. goals, like fighting terrorism.
“If you get along and if Russia is really helping us, why would anybody have sanctions if somebody’s doing some really great things?” he said.
The president-elect expanded on that point in a joint interview with The Times of London and the German newspaper Bild, which was published Sunday.
He did not draw much of a distinction between Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, leader one of the United States’ closest allies. “Well, I start off trusting both — but let’s see how long that lasts,” he said. “It may not last long at all.”
Merkel is up for reelection in the fall, and she’s facing a challenge from the anti-immigrant Alternative für Deutschland. According to Bloomberg, Trump told Bild he respects Merkel, but couldn’t say whether he wants to see her reelected because he doesn’t know her. He also claimed she’s hurt German by accepting more than 1 million refugees – or “all these illegals” – into the country.
While Trump claimed that NATO is “very important” to him, he reiterated his complaints about other countries not “paying their fair share.” “I said a long time ago that NATO had problems. Number one it was obsolete, because it was designed many, many years ago,” Trump said. “Number two the countries aren’t paying what they’re supposed to pay.
Trump expressed similar foreign policy statements many times on the campaign trail, but the Times reported that there’s increased alarm in Europe as leaders have come to realize that his “acerbic criticism of NATO and the European Union was not just an attempt to win votes.”
Earlier in the day, outgoing CIA Director John Brennan criticized Trump’s command of foreign policy. “I don’t think he has a full understanding of Russian capabilities and the actions they are taking on the world,” Brennan told Fox News Sunday.
Brennan added, noting that the president-elect’s impulsive tweets could be dangerous. “Spontaneity is not something that protects national security interests.”
Trump tweeted his rebuttal on Sunday night, suggesting that Brennan might have leaked the dossier containing allegations about his ties to Russia to the press (though we know the document’s origin and it’s been circulating among journalists and politicians for months).
America is in more danger than at almost any time in its past and the danger is self inflicted. Be very, very afraid for the future.