NY Times columnist Tom Friedman asks whether Trump puts America First or Trump First?
The second I finished watching President Trump fawning over Vladimir Putin in Helsinki — refusing to defend the conclusions of his own intelligence services about Russia’s interference in our 2016 elections — I knew I was seeing something I’d never seen before. It took a few days to figure it out, but now it’s obvious: I was seeing a U.S. president put Russia first, not America first.
On each key question — how much Russian agents were involved in trying to tip our elections, how that issue should be further investigated, and Putin’s behavior on the world stage generally (like his government’s involvement in the downing of the Malaysian airliner over Ukraine, the murder of Russian journalists and the poisoning of a former Russian spy in the U.K.) — Trump embraced Putin’s explanations and excuses over the judgments of his own spy agencies, Justice Department, European allies and bedrock American values.
I like what Arnold Schwarzenegger said to Trump afterward: “You’re the president of the United States. You shouldn’t do that. What’s the matter with you?”
You gotta view this one: what Arnold Schwarzenegger said to Trump
What’s the matter with you? I don’t know the definitive answer to that question, but I know that it will be an increasing problem …
Here’s why. There are few remaining defenses against the Trumpian madness. Senior officials have left or been fired. Friedman asks “with the G.O.P. having completely folded and with the few Trump advisers with spine neutered or fired, is there any restraint left around him?”
There is one critical defense line left — that formed by F.B.I. Director Christopher Wray, National Intelligence Director Dan Coats, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen. By coincidence, two days after Helsinki, all four spoke at the Aspen Security Forum, which I attended.
Wray, Coats and Rosenstein all rose to the occasion. They knew Helsinki was a test of their institutions and themselves, and they passed it with flying colors — always putting America first and not Trump first when it really mattered.
Unfortunately, the secretary of homeland security showed no such spine. Asked if the Russians had intervened to favor Trump, Nielsen said with a straight face: “I haven’t seen any evidence that the attempts to interfere in our election infrastructure was to favor a particular political party. I think what we’ve seen on the foreign influence side is they were attempting to intervene and cause chaos on both sides.”
That was the sound of a senior national security official putting Trump first, not America first. Nielsen proved to be a shameful coward. I sure hope we do not have a homeland security crisis on her watch.
Which brings me back to Schwarzenegger’s question — “What’s the matter with you?” It applies not just to the president but also all the people enabling him. Why do they so freely sacrifice their own reputations and their own integrity to defend a man with no integrity, a man who would sell each and every one of them down the river the second he decided it was in his interest? It is inexplicable to me.
At least Stormy Daniels got paid.
(h/t Sherry Moreau)