Trump’s been hinting at it for months, but he just finally did it. In an insane tweet, Trump officially came out in support of Vladmir Putin over President Obama. It’s hard to put into words just how unprecedented this is.
Great move on delay (by V. Putin) – I always knew he was very smart!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 30, 2016
President Obama recently condemned Russian involvement in the 2016 election by sanctioning Russian intelligence and deporting 35 of its diplomats. Russia has been implicated in intentionally hacking Hillary Clinton’s allies and releasing the illegally obtained information through Wikileaks in an effort to get Donald Trump elected. It worked and now both Obama and Republicans stand unified in their condemnation of this disgusting assault on American democracy. In contrast, Trump wants us to “move on.”
Only three groups on the planet seemed genuinely surprised or upset by this retaliatory move to deport Russian diplomats:
- and Donald Trump
As has been the case several times during Obama’s presidency, he called Putin’s bluff and Putin blinked. Despite blustering words, Putin declined to expel U.S. diplomats from his country in a move to escalate tension.
The switch was remarkable, given that the foreign minister, Sergey V. Lavrov, had just recommended the retaliation in remarks broadcast live on national television, and given the long history of reciprocal expulsions between the two countries. Russian officials have traditionally been sticklers for diplomatic protocol.
Trump misinterpreted the move as a “very smart” tactical retreat by Putin.
Thrilled at the idea of praising his hero and eager to bash Obama, Trump’s tweeted response is a humiliating mixed signal sent to the world. On the one hand our current president is acting in a way to punish those who would meddle in American elections, and on the other Trump is encouraging those who engage in it – so long as they suck up to him.
Featured image via Win McNamee/Getty Images