By State Representative, Leon D. Young
At last, the nation’s warring political factions (better known as Democrats and Republicans) have found at least one hot-button issue that they all can agree on: Russia’s flagrant interference in our 2016 presidential election. From the intelligence community to lawmakers on Capitol Hill, everyone now appears to be on the same page with one notable exception: Donald Trump, the leader of this country and the free world.
In a truly remarkable news conference in Helsinki, Finland this week, Donald Trump refused to name a single action for which Vladimir Putin and Russia should be held accountable. Instead, Trump saved his sharpest criticism for the United States and the special counsel investigation into election meddling, calling it a “ridiculous” probe and a “witch hunt” that has kept the two countries apart.
For nearly two years, Republicans have watched uncomfortably, and often in silence, as Trump ridiculed accusations that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential race. This week in Helsinki, Trump ventured where none of his predecessors have ever gone: He accepted the explanation of a hostile foreign leader over the findings of his own intelligence agencies.
This, in turn, has triggered a political firestorm of sorts. Let’s examine what political pundits, on both sides of the aisle, are now saying in this regard:
• Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, declared, “No prior president has ever abased himself more abjectly before a tyrant.”
• Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker and Trump adviser, declared the news conference “the most serious mistake of his presidency.”
• Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee and current Senate candidate from Utah, called it “disgraceful and detrimental to our democratic principles.”
• Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader, declared, “In the entire history of our country, Americans have never seen a president of the United States support an adversary the way President Trump has supported President Putin.”
In the aftermath of yet another self-inflicted crisis, one that now finds Trump being accused not only of poor judgment but treason, he’s trying to take back his remarks in siding with Putin and treating him like a trusted friend. Suddenly, Trump claims that he misspoke and now contends that he agrees with U.S. intelligence on Russian interference. But this is nothing more than his clumsy attempt at damage control.
In truth, we are all somewhat responsible for the rise, and subsequent reign, of Donald Trump. The very principles, which are the hallmark of this Democracy, are blatantly under attack. And, it’s imperative to note that this imminent threat to our way of life doesn’t emanate from some foreign power abroad, but shockingly from within The White House.