Trump is Right

The Russian government likely is quite pleased.

Another Trump tweet:

He is correct: the goal of all of this is to sow discord and to damage both internal and external perceptions of American democracy. I will note that many of the president’s political adversaries are so focused on getting him they may not be fully thinking through the implications of this reality.

Having said all of that:  surely this should concern the President of United States beyond a flippant tweet.  One would think that a President would not further make the question of outside interference in our elections a partisan matter.  That he would not undercut investigations into that interference.  One might think that a President of the United States might rise above his own petty ego.

The problem is:  the sitting President sees only the degree to which the Russia investigation is aimed at him, a problem that he perpetuates by the way he has acted. He does not see the national security implications of what has transpired. This is a glaring example of how poor a president he is.

As such, David Frum, writing in The Atlantic, is correct:  America Is Under Attack and the President Doesn’t Care

The new question is this: What has been—what will be done—to protect American democracy from such attacks in the future? The Russian attack in 2016 worked, yielding dividends beyond Vladimir Putin’s wildest hopes. The Russians hoped to cast a shadow over the Clinton presidency. Instead, they outright elected their preferred candidate. Americans once thought it was a big deal that Alger Hiss rose to serve as acting temporary secretary general of the United Nations. This time, a Russian-backed  individual was installed in the Oval Office.

From that position of power, Trump has systematically attempted to shut down investigations of the foreign-espionage operation that operated on his behalf. He fired the director of the FBI to shut it down. His White House coordinated with the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee to misdirect the investigation. He mobilized the speaker of the House to thwart bipartisan investigations under broadly respected leadership. He has inspired, supported, and joined a national propaganda campaign against the Mueller investigation.

And all the while, Trump has done nothing—literally nothing—to harden the nation’s voting systems against follow-on Russian operations. On Sunday, he publicly repudiated his own national-security adviser for acknowledging at the Munich Security Conference the most incontrovertible basics of what happened in 2016.

Despite his oath of office, Trump is far more concerned about Trump than he is about defending and protecting the Constitution.

FILED UNDER: Donald Trump, US Politics
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. Neil Hudelson says:

    See MBunge? There are pro-Trump articles on this site :).

    11
  2. Davebo says:

    @Neil Hudelson:

    I waffle between MBunge being a “burn it all down” guy or just a Russian bot but I gotta believe Russian bot’s are better programmed.

    5
  3. Gustopher says:

    The Republicans had the opportunity to treat this matter with bipartisan investigations in good faith. They chose not to — largely because they have stopped doing anything in good faith years ago. See Benghazi and emails, as two recent examples.

    I think the Russian plan is fairly clever — interfere to support the radical party, and then let America tear itself apart. Bonus points if the President is compromised, and has to spend his time fighting off allegations and hiding his or his family’s crimes.

    We have three options:
    1. bipartisan, good-faith investigations as open as possible, designed to expose and then strengthen our systems
    2. allow Russian interference in our elections to go unchecked
    3. this current mess with a hobbled presidency

    The Republicans have rejected the first. The Democrats have (very rightly) rejected the second. The Russians win.

    Is Trump still refusing to implement the bipartisan approved sanctions against Russia?

    8
  4. CSK says:

    Of course Trump is more concerned about Trump than he is about defending and protecting the Constitution, which he has no knowledge of, nor interest in, anyway. Everything exists only to inflate his huge but leaky ego.

    5
  5. Neil Hudelson says:

    @Davebo:

    Nah, he’s real. He was posting here long before the 2016 election, and his schtick has always been the same. “Guys, I’m actually a liberal just like you but I abhor the state of affairs we find ourselves in, therefore–even though I don’t like him, I really don’t guys–I’m going to vote for [insert right winger, in this case Trump], defend everything he ever does without fail, and regurgitate right wing talking points on the regular. And since I’m actually really truly a liberal just like you, I’m going to be aghast that you don’t listen to my reasoned points.”

    9
  6. CSK says:

    @Gustopher:

    Yes, he’s still refusing to implement the sanctions. He says they’re not necessary.

    3
  7. wr says:

    @Neil Hudelson: “I’m a liberal just like you, except I am really really really smart and you’re all dumb.”

    3
  8. michael reynolds says:

    The Russian s should be pleased. This is the greatest intelligence coup since the Rosenbergs gave Stalin the bomb.

    4
  9. gVOR08 says:

    @Neil Hudelson: Our boy M is a concern troll. I support our shared goals, but wouldn’t it be better if you believed/did thus and so. Thus and so being something that supports Republicans. Just like David Brooks, but unpaid and with way, way less wasted talent.

    1
  10. gVOR08 says:

    @michael reynolds: For a little bit after the election the Russians seemed to back off a bit. They didn’t expect Trumpsky to win either, and there seemed to be a dog that caught the car moment of realizing they might have hung their arses out too far. But now that nothing bad has happened to them, they’re back.

    Something bad really, really needs to happen to them, and I don’t know how that happens with the President* opposed.

    1
  11. TM01 says:

    @Gustopher:
    Question: how precisely do you propose stopping “Russians” from posting memes on FB in order to “influence” an election?

    1
  12. TM01 says:

    If Trump is right, are we all now admitting that whole Collusion thing was a big pile of nothing?

    1
  13. gVOR08 says:

    Do you suppose Trumpsky has ever contemplated that the Russians didn’t really want to elect him, but supporting him was the best way to sow chaos and undermine President Hillary? Rhetorical question.

  14. @TM01: Let’s not be obtuse. Read the tweet and the post.

    7
  15. TM01 says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: I read the tweet and your headline.

  16. @TM01: Well, two thoughts:

    1) It is not unreasonable to assume you would read the post if you are going to make critical comments. But if you are one of those who just reads headlines, that may explain past comments.

    2) Yours is the first mention of the word “collusion” in the discussion (to included my headline, Trump’s tweet, the body of my post, and the other comments), so it is not fair to assume an endorsement of that position.

    4
  17. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @TM01: No, it’s more Trump is right–you guys really forked this up royally.

    2
  18. Gustopher says:

    @TM01: Given that “Russians” are foreigners, and that they were expending “money” to take out ads to “influence” our “elections,” such actions are “unlawful” hence the indictments of 13 “Russians.”

    A thorough investigation allows us to know their methodology, and we can work with Facebook, Google, et al. to help insure that it cannot be repeated. Because it is also “unlawful” for them to knowing accept money from foreign actors for political advertisements.

    Also, too, we could actually implement “sanctions” that your beloved “President” has not bothered to.

    3
  19. MBunge says:

    Wow, I didn’t realize how popular I was around here. You guys make me feel so special!

    And I would appreciate it if Mr. Taylor could provide a few links to the many posts he’s made criticizing others (including David Frum, I’m pretty sure) who have used the Russia investigation as an excuse for hysterical, paranoid, and as-yet-baseless attacks on Donald Trump and the legitimacy of his election and Administration? Or at least where you’ve chastised some of the commenters on your own blog for such statements?

    After all, surely you haven’t refrained from such things in service to your own petty ego.

    Mike

    1
  20. MBunge says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: 2) Yours is the first mention of the word “collusion” in the discussion (to included my headline, Trump’s tweet, the body of my post, and the other comments), so it is not fair to assume an endorsement of that position.

    That would be true…if we were all idiots who forgot literally everything said and written about this subject before last Friday.

    This is not a big story because a few Russians spent a pitifully small amount of money trying to disrupt the 2016 election. We all knew the Russians were doing that before the election. Didn’t it even come up in one of the Trump/Clinton debates? We knew about it and no one, not Doug Mataconis or Stephen L. Taylor or Michael Reynolds, was making that big a deal about it.

    It became a big deal only after the election when people like Stephen L. Taylor needed an explanation for Trump’s victory other than they were as wrong as wrong can be. And it morphed into a fantasy of “Collusion!” which practically the entire American political/media elite has wallowed in ever since.

    Don’t misunderstand me, Mr. Taylor. It’s good that you may be slightly more rational than your fellow blogger and the peanut gallery around here and grasp that recent developments indicate it might be time to back off all the “Collusion!” nonsense. But to act like it never happened? To pretend that Donald Trump hasn’t had a reason for how he’s handled the Russia investigation? To predictably slam him again while willfully ignoring how virtually the entire U.S. political establishment has been gleefully advancing the interests of Putin for the last 15 months?

    Are you that dumb or do you think everyone else is?

    Mike

  21. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @MBunge:

    That would be true…if we were all idiots who forgot literally everything said and written about this subject before last Friday.

    Straw-man, much? The wrong-doing here is not limited to collusion. You are simply parroting your Dear Leader’s tweets. Obviously those tweets themselves are a Quixotic attempt to move the goal-posts.