It is a near certainty that by now, everyone who even glances at this post, today, or at any other time, saw, has viewed clips, or has heard about, maybe even discussed Donald Trump’s visit to Helsinki, Finland for the Summit with Vladimir Putin. Unlike I often do, citing source material, and providing elements of a variety of other people’s commentary, I am simply going to delve into and share a few of my thoughts about the Summit, Mr. Trump, and Putin.
Before Monday’s Summit, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announced 12 new indictments of Russians Friday afternoon. That announcement, depending on one’s perspective, either gave Trump the cudgel he needed in order to smack Putin up side the head, figuratively of course, with the charge of Russian meddling, or…it provided a convenient prompt for reporters to query Trump about whether he believes the findings of the American Intelligence Community…in the event he opted not to use his cudgel.
As fate would have it…no check that. As events unfolded, it turns out, to virtually no one’s surprise, Trump chose not to use his very un-secret weapon. In fact, in a scripted performance not worthy of an episode of “The Apprentice,” Don, remaining fully in character, cozied up to Vlad, and when it was time to declare a side, in a very Charlottesville moment, the erstwhile Leader of the Free World missed a lay-up and said in effect, there were good people on both sides. He noted that Putin had strongly and powerfully denied Russian involvement, and then wondered, why would they be?
For his part, when a question was put to him about whether he preferred one of the two 2016 American Presidential candidates Vladimir boldly and emphatically admitted he preferred that Trump win; adding that he pledged to foster better relations with Russia. Putin was a cool, confident operator. He very well could have been a KGB agent. Oh wait; He is a former KGB agent. At one point, he literally boasted that he knew how dossiers were put together.
Before the Summit, Trump had been asked whether he was ready. His response was pretty much he “was born ready.” He downplayed the ado that was made over Putin’s spy days. In retrospect, one has to concede, if there is one thing Trump does not lack (aside from a propensity to avoid truth-telling) it’s bravado. He knows how to manufacture bluster. However, if he was ready for the moment Monday, his display when the lights came up belied his preparation. By virtually all accounts, he earned an epic fail by even the most generous of evaluators.
Democrats, by and large, blew a collective gasket over a number of his responses. That was to be expected. What was less predictable, though understandable, was that a number of GOP politicians expressed a range of emotions that ran from disgust to shock and awe. But there was more. Even Fox News had several analysts diverge from the script and call Trump’s performance off key, or some variation thereof. Newt Gingrich called Trump’s apparent siding with Putin over his own Intelligence Community the biggest mistake of his tenure to date. He insisted that Trump must recant and fix it immediately. Senator McCain, Paul Ryan, and even Senator Richard Burr, Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, weighed in, and not in a supportive manner.
Yesterday, after a barrage of negative publicity from myriad sources, Trump reluctantly conceded he accepts the U.S. Intelligence Committee reports of Russian meddling. However, no sooner than he read the words, emphasis on read, he added that it could have been any number of others. But first, he rationalized, I mean explained, his initial ridiculous position was a function of having misspoken. He said he said would when he meant wouldn’t, when he asked why would they (as in why would Russia meddle). According to his newly revised and highly scripted (he actually read it) version of events, it was just that simple. I would add that was the only thing he cleaned up. One word. Really?
Gingrich and others in the Trump/Fox orbit clearly got their point across. In response, Trump transformed one word into a conjunction, and for many, all was right again in TrumpWorld. But let’s be clear, while the political timber shivered, and even the media lights blinked, the real denizens of TrumpWorld, the MAGA hat wearing Trumpians, never waivered. They stood resolutely behind the Dear Leader of the People, firing Obama and Clinton zingers as if they have them on speed dial, which is actually a possibility. They are knitted closer to their commitment to defend Trump than Trump is to his defense of Putin. You must admit, that’s d... close.
One thing that always makes me smile is that for all of their robotically reflexive defenses of The Donald, few of them ever can get more than a few words out without receding into that seemingly inescapably cavernous pattern of referring to President Obama, or Hillary Clinton, and occasionally Bill. Of course, right after those tried and true scapegoating aphorisms come Democrats, liberals, fake news, the Main Stream Media, the deep state, and Bernie Sanders. Mostly, they seem to hate Obama and despise the Clintons way more than they admire and respect Donald Trump, which come to think of it, are an almost oxymoronic constructs in the first place.
All things considered, it has been just another drama-filled week in the TrumpWorld neighborhood. If I’ve learned anything about Trump over the past year and a half, it’s that there have been others before this one, and there will most assuredly be more to follow. Despite the thinnest of veneers as far as explanations go, several of the folks who 24 hours earlier were aghast at the words that came out of Donald Trump’s mouth, felt, or at least portrayed, an almost giddiness about Trump’s hardly deft effort at redirection. But, as many have concluded, the Republican Party has receded; the Trump Party has emerged. May God save all of us. “The Guardians of TrumpWorld Are Busier Than Ever: Thanks Donald!”
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