The much-heralded Putin-Trump Summit in Helsinki, Finland has come and gone. In a stunning climactic joint press conference, President Trump disgraced not only himself but his country. Fawning over Putin, Trump appeared mesmerized by the stoic Putin, who was obviously in full control and dominated the president of the United States. Trump failed to even suggest that Putin and the Russian intelligence services were responsible for attacking the United States’ 2016 elections and continuing their attacks to this day. It is time for some straight talk about this president and the threat he poses to our democracy.
Politicians, members of the media and former and present government officials should not keep referring to the Russian encroachment into the foundational stones of our democratic institutions as “meddling” and “interference.” The Mueller investigation release of 12 indictments against the Russians should assure even the most ardent skeptic that the Russians weren’t meddling or interfering. If you take the time to read the Mueller Indictments you will understand the lengths the Russians went to and the sophistication of their attacks on our country. The one good thing about these indictments is that the American intelligence community was smarter than the Russians by discovering the facts and evidence necessary for these indictments!
Going forward, we should make no mistake. These were attacks on the United States by a foreign country. These attacks are no different than the Japanese infamous strike on the Pacific fleet at Pearl Harbor in 1941 or the unimaginable suicide mission that brought down New York City’ Twin Towers in 2001. President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Congress responded immediately by declaring war on Japan. President George W. Bush responded with Congressional approval to launch a war in Afghanistan against Al- Qaeda camps and Osama bin Laden. Both Roosevelt and Bush took action to defend the country against “all enemies both foreign and domestic.”
It should be noted that the oath presidents take does not literally require the him or her to defend the country against “all enemies both foreign and domestic.” It only requires a president to swear or affirm that she or he “will to the best of his/her ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” In lieu of the Russian attack on our country, how has President Trump responded to these attacks given the new evidence produced by the Mueller indictments?
In typical Trump fashion, he had one set of statements in Helsinki and another one day after returning to Washington. Here is a report by Politico of what he said in Helsinki and here is what he is stubbornly conceding one day later according to Bloomberg News. Trump’s hope is that he can verbally muddy the water and move on to create more chaos to distract from his disaster in Helsinki. The American public shouldn’t buy it this time.
Several points should be kept in mind about this president:
- Despite his first worst fears, in all probability he is not the legitimately elected president of the United States. Russia, by Putin’s own admission, wanted Trump to win the election saying “Yes, I did. Yes, I did. Because he talked about bringing the U.S.-Russia relationship back to normal.” When since the end of World War II have relations with Russia ever been normal? By ordering the Russian attacks on our democracy, “normal” means something quite different to Putin. More likely he sees it as having a president in his pocket who dares not cross him.
- Trump is no patriot. According to Webster “The word patriot signifies a person who loves his or her country and is ready to boldly support and defend it.” Trump hardly is supportive of our intelligence community, the FBI, the CIA, the Department of Justice and members of his own administration who are trying to defend this nation against all enemies both foreign and domestic. Trump continues to denigrate, insult and threaten our allies from Canada, to the European Union, the United Kingdom and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Can he now expect them to come to our aid if we need them? If Russia decides to invade Estonia or Latvia, will he honor our commitment to defend a NATO member? Trump is great on tough talk, but when the chips are down will he fold like a cheap suit?
- We can stop trying to figure out why Trump behaves the way he does. After 500 and some days in office, we pretty well understand his behavior. There is no further need for psycho-social pondering. He is a compulsive liar, lying to the American public on over 3,300 occasions as president. He is a malignant narcissist with a comorbid anti-social personality disorder. He is corrupt, taking every opportunity to use his presidency to enrich himself in violation of laws forbidding him to do so. He berates, insults, slanders, and bullies anyone who disagrees with him, while having an incessant need to be liked. He has no intellectual curiosity which causes him to be ignorant of almost all of the areas of government of which he responsible. In spite of his claims to have a good college education, he is oblivious to the nation’s and the world’s history. He doesn’t read. He doesn’t read his national security briefings, relies totally on his own intuition. Trump is incompetent, corrupt, ignorant, and mentally ill. He is a danger to our country.
- At this point, it is up to Congress to put this president in check, something it has been unwilling to do. Every member of Congress takes this oath when taking office: “I, do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion, and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.” If the president is not going to defend our Constitution, the foundation of our democracy and the values and principles expressed therein, then it would seem Congress is obligated to do so. The question then becomes are there any members of Congress who have the courage and fortitude to stand up to the president and deal with Putin? Are there any true patriots left in Congress? Or will they remain long on rhetoric and short on action?
- Ultimately in the end, a democracy can only depend on its people. In many respects it is a fragile experiment. A government founded on the rule of law and equal justice, assurance of a free press, guaranteeing freedoms of religion, speech, peaceful assembly and the right to petition the government for a redress of grievances can not long endure when the governed become apathetic and immune to tyranny. It is time for all patriots to confront its representatives. The people must protect their democracy by confronting their representatives at every town hall meeting, every political rally, even storming the gates of the White House and the halls of Congress and exercising their right to vote in November. To paraphrase the words of Edmund Burke: The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good persons to do nothing. We should have no illusions. Putin’s intentions are evil and President Trump will do nothing to defend us against those intentions.