President Donald Trump’s performance at his press conference with Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Finland, on Monday will go down in history as one of the worst moments in the Trump administration’s already dreadful tenure – and it’s not just liberals who are raising hell about his refusal to challenge the Russian president over his country’s extensive electronic warfare campaign during the 2016 elections.
Prominent conservative commentator George Will tore into Donald Trump for his behavior in a Washington Post op-ed titled “Trump is a sad, embarrassing wreck of a man” that opens with a scathing condemnation – and doesn’t let up.
“America’s child president had a play date with a KGB alumnus, who surely enjoyed providing daycare. It was a useful, because illuminating, event: Now we shall see how many Republicans retain a capacity for embarrassment.”
Treating the President with the disrespect he’s earned, Will pointed out that the usually confused and noncommittal Trump, who usually shows little initiative or interest when it comes to policy positions but has gone out of his way time and time again to definitively and repeatedly insulate the Russian Federation from any responsibility for their successful hacking of Democratic National Committee servers and the personal email accounts of senior Hillary Clinton campaign members.
What, precisely, did President Trump say about the diametrically opposed statements concerning Russia and the 2016 U.S. elections by U.S. intelligence agencies (and the Senate Intelligence Committee) and by Putin concerning Russia and the 2016 U.S. elections? Precision is not part of Trump’s repertoire: He speaks English as though it is a second language that he learned from someone who learned English last week. So, it is usually difficult to sift meanings from Trump’s word salads. But in Helsinki he was, for him, crystal clear about feeling no allegiance to the intelligence institutions that work at his direction and under leaders he chose.
Will went on to slam the elected Republican politicians who are willing to look the other way for any offense and ignore every abuse if it will get their plutocratic agenda passed and their hold on the Supreme Court entrenched:
Speaking of Republicans incapable of blushing — those with the peculiar strength that comes from being incapable of embarrassment — consider Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (S.C.), who for years enjoyed derivative gravitas from his association with John McCain (Ariz.). Graham tweeted about Helsinki: “Missed opportunity by President Trump to firmly hold Russia accountable for 2016 meddling and deliver a strong warning regarding future elections.” A “missed opportunity” by a man who does not acknowledge the meddling?
He finished with a poetic and subtly devastating pondering of why the president might be behaving this way – and his conclusions are echoed by the vast majority of the American people:
Granted, Trump has a weak man’s banal fascination with strong men whose disdain for him is evidently unimaginable to him. And, yes, he only perfunctorily pretends to have priorities beyond personal aggrandizement. But just as astronomers inferred, from anomalies in the orbits of the planet Uranus, the existence of Neptune before actually seeing it, Mueller might infer, and then find, still-hidden sources of the behavior of this sad, embarrassing wreck of a man.
It’s obvious at this point that there’s something behind the president’s inexplicable insistence on refusing to say any word critical of Vladimir Putin and the Russian Federation – just look at today’s press conference, in which he insisted that the election interference could have been “from other sources.”
While much of the media and political establishment has been up in arms over the President’s behavior, George Will is one of the most respected conservatives around – and his words should be a loud alarm bell to the rest of the Republican Party.