That is the final sentence of Charles M. Blow’s column for Monday’s New York Times, titled Siding With the Enemy. It is blunt, inspired both by watching Trump’s performance on his overseas trip and the forceful statements on television on Sunday by former intelligence officials James Clapper and John Brennan. It is, as has been the case with many of Blow’s recent columns, a must-read.
Here’s the beginning of the column:
Consider the strategic and historical magnitude of what “President” Donald Trump said last week: He said that he believed the intelligence conclusions of a nation hostile to this country — Russia — over the intelligence conclusions drawn by American agencies.
It is a striking declaration, a betrayal of American trust and interests that is almost treasonous in its own right.
I will not attempt to go through the entire column, to parse it, to analyze it.
I will give you a sense with a few more selections.
As far as Trump calling Clapper and Brennan political hacks as a means of deflection, something that led to their pushback in their appearances on a Sunday show, Blow offers this:
It was gross and classic Trumpian deflection: Look everywhere but at the truth.
That won’t work this time.
After reminding us in detail of how John McCain pushed back against the original statement by Trump offering acceptance of Putin’s word versus the judgment of the intelligence community, Blow writes
The truth here is that we are seeing in real time how the president’s personal paranoia impedes our national policy and our national interests. The uncomfortable fact here is that Trump is pursuing his own interest, not American interests. And, on the question of Russia attacking our elections, Trump and Putin’s interest align against the facts and against America.
He is even more blunt in the next paragraph, where we can read
Trump is betraying this country by trying to curry favor with his new comrade.
There is more, so much more in this column.
Allow me to skip to the penultimate paragraph, and then offer some observations of my own.
Trump won’t acknowledge the crime because Trump was the beneficiary of the crime. Trump won’t insult Russia because it may well be that he was installed by Russia. Trump is as much a Russian project as an American president.
Take that a sentence at a time.
“Trump won’t acknowledge the crime because Trump was the beneficiary of the crime. “ He cannot acknowledge that he benefited, because that would certainly undercut whatever legitimacy may still remain about his victory. We can remember in the debate his reaction when Clinton called him Putin’s puppet, that he was no puppet, that she was the puppet. As is often the case with Trump, he projects onto others his own failings.
“Trump won’t insult Russia because it may well be that he was installed by Russia.” It increasingly seems likely that Trump’s narrow margins in number of states were at least in part made possible by the massive efforts by Russians to influence this election — through social media, through offering information through intermediaries designed to undermine Clinton, through Wikileaks, which increasingly seems to be a Russian cut-out, even through Cambridge Analytics, the Mercer owned firm that was instrumental in providing data and targeting. Also, we are increasingly seeing the incredible number of contacts between those around Trump and Russia, something about which increasing numbers of Trumpistas have been less than forthcoming if not down-right untruthful. Further, it is also becoming increasingly evident that Trump has Russian connections probably reaching into the inner circles around Putin that go back more than a decade, and there is more than a little evidence that he was kept afloat financially by money coming from those very circles. That evidence does not YET support criminal charges, and may even be outside the statute of limitation. But actions taken to cover up such support is itself subject to criminal charges both in the Federal system and in NY State, and may well be within statutes of limitations in both jurisdictions.
“Trump is as much a Russian project as an American president.” It is not clear that Trump ever wanted to BE President. He wanted to run for President as a means of making money. He told Richard Branson that. Now he has found he can make money for himself and his family (including Jared Kushner, whose familial business was in dire straits before his recent trip to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and who met with banned Russian bankers as well). Whether or not Trump ever became President, he was visible enough that having him as a Russian agent — witting or not — very much served the purpose of Vladimir Putin.
It is because Trump is, as Blow puts it, a Russian project, that his refusal to criticize that nation or Putin is so critical, and thus sets the basis for Blow’s final paragraph, from which I drew my title:
This means that he is compromised, in capacity and function, and that means that Trump’s fear of dishonor places the rest of us in danger of future attacks and exploitation. Trump is Putin’s dupe.