After a jaw-dropping twenty-four hours, I want to share with you my thoughts on the most disastrous foreign trip by an American President in my lifetime.
I watched yesterday, with my mouth agape, as the President of the United States stood on stage with Vladimir Putin and said he believed Putin when Putin insists that Russia did not try to interfere in the 2016 election.
There are still some truths in this world. Not everything is up for debate. And here are two of them:
1. The Russian government attacked our elections in 2016 with the intent of trying to elect Trump. Trump may not want to admit that, but it is settled as fact among the intelligence community, law enforcement, and 100 U.S. Senators from both parties. Everyone agrees.
2. Russia plans on attacking our elections in 2018.
All Trump needed to do yesterday was clear a very low bar — to offer some mild pushback on the stage about both of those facts … and he couldn’t even muster that.
So what we are left with after yesterday’s news conference is a question that should terrify every American, and that is the question of why?
Why would Donald Trump take the side of Vladimir Putin over his intelligence agencies? Why would Donald Trump refuse to act to protect our elections here at home? Why is Donald Trump so friendly to Russian national security interests, while so hostile to our own?
And the thing is, yesterday’s press conference was just the icing on the cake. What preceded that event was five disastrous days that left America weaker internationally than we have ever been in our country’s recent history.
First he called Europe a “foe” — the continent that most closely shares our democratic values and continues to be our most important trading partner — and announced his meetings with Putin would be easier.
Then he made it clear that he believes NATO is functionally irrelevant and sent a silent but clear message that if Russia ever attacked a NATO country, but denied it officially, he will believe Russia. Just like he is doing with our own country, after Russia attacked our elections.
This country can survive a lot, but Trump is making us a laughing stock. We used to be a pillar of global strength, but now it seems that all you need to do if you are a despot or an authoritarian tyrant is get into a room with the President of the United States and he will give you whatever it is you want.
I couldn’t be sadder about it.
But I’m not going to sit back and do nothing. I will press my Republican colleagues to use this moment to pass legislation to protect the Mueller investigation. I will continue to speak out in support of the EU and NATO and against Putin’s aggression. And if this Republican Congress won’t hold the president accountable for his actions, then I will work like hell to elect one that will this November.
Every best wish,
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