Some of my conservative friends wonder why I am not willing to acknowledge any of Donald Trump’s accomplishments. My response is simple. Whatever good Trump does simply isn’t worth the shame and disgrace he brings to the White House on an almost daily basis. The closest parallel that I can draw is to a college coach who builds his program into a winner while throwing his school’s integrity into the dumpster. Think Urban Meyer siding with an assistant coach who beat up his pregnant wife, or Art Briles turning a blind eye to sexual assault in his program.
Likewise, is anything Trump did for the economy worth his reveling in degrading women? Or retweeting hateful, violent and degrading memes attacking his foes? Or recklessly endangering the Speaker of the House by outing her plans to go on a fact-finding mission in the battlefield? Or condoning an environment where it is acceptable to smear his critics with doctored videos? Or sharing doctored videos himself? And on, and on, and on, and on.
We got another reminder of this on Saturday. While spending Memorial Day weekend on a state visit to Japan, Trump couldn’t resist taking to Twitter in order to get in a dig at one of his potential rivals in 2020, former Vice President Joe Biden. That was to be expected. The only problem was that he defended a cheap shot directed at Biden by North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un.
Trump was referring to how North Korean state media responded to Biden slamming Trump for getting too close to “dictators and tyrants” like Kim and Russian strongman Vladimir Putin at a campaign rally in Philadelphia last weekend. On Wednesday, the official Korean Central News Agency called Biden “an imbecile bereft of elementary quality as a human being” and “a fool of low IQ.”
For all intents and purposes, Kim–or “Dear Respected,” as he is called in North Korea–was speaking through that wire release. Trump was almost certainly aware of this when he fired off that tweet. That’s what made it unconscionable.
Regardless of what a president may think of a political foe, in what world is it acceptable for a president to even appear to be publicly siding with an unhinged dictator’s attacks on that foe? Conservative radio host and former congressman Joe Walsh certainly wanted to know.
Walsh made a name for himself during his single term in Congress from a district northwest of Chicago as a simon-pure tea partier. On paper, he would be the stereotype of the Trump supporter. Indeed, he loudly supported Trump during the 2016 campaign, saying the nation needed a “disrupter-in-chief.”
However, he grew increasingly disenchanted with Trump’s unwillingness to acknowledge the overwhelming evidence that Russia indeed hacked the election. He broke with Trump completely when Trump appeared to take Putin at his word that the Kremlin didn’t hack the election, calling Trump “a traitor” and “a danger to this country.” Since then, he has been one of Trump’s staunchest critics on the right, in line with the likes of Rick Wilson, John Schindler, Max Boot and Jennifer Rubin.
So it should come as no surprise that when Walsh saw Trump siding with another tyrant, he hit the ceiling.
“Unpatriotic” is a strong word. But imagine if we had a Democratic president, and someone like Venezuela’s Nicolas Maduro or Bolivia’s Evo Morales uncorked a cheap shot at one of that Democrat’s principal Republican challengers. Now imagine if that Democratic president publicly sided with Maduro or Morales’ attacks on his foe. It would be no less outrageous than what Trump did here.
Above all else, we should be Americans first and Democrats or Republicans second. And as Americans, we should all be outraged when the president of the United States, regardless of party, even thinks siding with a foreign tyrant over an American is at all acceptable.
You would think that regardless of what they think of Biden personally, Republicans would have been just as outraged as Walsh–especially after Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders appeared on NBC’s “Meet The Press” and left no doubt that Trump agreed with Dear Respected about Biden. Watch here.
But the closest thing we saw to a response was a non-response from the third-ranking Republican in the House, Liz Cheney of Wyoming. While on ABC’s “This Week,” Cheney had at least three chances to respond to that tweet–and dodged every one.
If Cheney’s oath meant anything at all to her, she would have reacted in the same manner as Walsh did on Sunday morning.
Walsh couldn’t have said it better. No one with even an iota of decency can defend a president siding with the likes of Dear Respected, regardless of the situation. In a normal world, it would be condemned in the strongest terms. But if Cheney’s reaction is any indication, that isn’t coming from the GOP.
This tweet is yet another example of what our politics have become in recent years. And it’s yet another reason why nothing Trump does is worth it.
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