Putin Speaks Code. Does Trump Understand?

 

Back when word first leaked that Jared Kushner, Paul Manafort, and Donald Trump, Jr., had met with a Russian lawyer and others offering dirt on Hillary Clinton, President Trump seemed to think he was supplying an exculpatory cover story. Flying home from Germany on Air Force One, Trump reportedly instructed Don Jr. to claim that he and the Kremlin-linked lawyer had “primarily discussed a program about the adoption of Russian children.” There is apparently some debate about whether that misleading statement places the president in any legal jeopardy, but there is another aspect to the story that has received less attention. It came up again during the Helsinki debacle – Putin, the world’s richest man and most successful thief, is obsessed with the Magnitsky Act.

In fact, the very mention of Russian adoptions was a tipoff that Ms. Veselnitskaya was probably representing Vladimir Putin. Whether Trump knew this at the time is unclear. After all, he could not say what the nuclear triad was and endorsed “Article XII” of the U.S. Constitution. Maybe he thought mentioning that they discussed Russian adoptions was the most anodyne-sounding explanation for the meeting.

Except it wasn’t. If they spoke of adoptions, it means they spoke of the Magnitsky Act, the sanctions bill the U.S. enacted at the urging of William Browder, a hedge fund manager and, at one time, the largest foreign investor in Russia. Funny, Browder’s name came up again in Helsinki, when Putin accused him of tax evasion and theft and contributing to the Hillary Clinton campaign (all totally false) and suggested that the U.S. should hand him over for questioning in exchange for permitting Robert Mueller to question the 12 GRU agents just indicted for meddling in our election. Putin later added former U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul to the list of those his goons would interrogate. Our stable genius president leaped at this as an “incredible offer.” A few days later, he scaled back.

Those who follow relations with Russia know that Vladimir Putin used the fate of Russian orphans as a way to retaliate against the United States for the Magnitsky Act. If they were talking adoptions at Trump Tower it’s because they were talking about sanctions relief, a matter dear to Putin’s heart. In exchange for what?

Sergei Magnitsky was the accountant who worked for William Browder. When Browder’s firm, Hermitage Capital, was the victim of a fraud and embezzlement scheme, Magnitsky patiently pieced together the truth. Those responsible, it turned out, were Russian government agents, living large and enjoying BMWs and seaside apartments. Magnitsky’s reward was to be arrested and tortured to death. Oh, and to add a nice Soviet-style touch, Putin’s government pinned the embezzlement on Magnitsky. Putin’s retaliation, halting adoptions of Russian babies by Americans, was another human rights abuse.

Browder was shaken to his core by Magnitsky’s fate and has since devoted his life to passing Magnitsky laws in every country he can convince. Ours passed in 2012. The law forbids Americans to do any business, including banking, with those who had a part in Magnitsky’s torture and death, thus making it more difficult for Russian criminals (i.e. state actors including Putin) to stash stolen money in the U.S. or other countries that have adopted such laws. It would not be strange for a president of the United States to award someone like Bill Browder a medal. It is pathetic for a president of the United States to be so obtuse or ignorant or both as to agree before all the world that such a man might be questioned by Putin’s trained attack dogs.

If you watched the Helsinki press conference, you saw Trump bowing and scraping to ingratiate himself with Putin. He kept thanking the Russian for attending the meeting, stressed that using the word “competitor” was intended as a compliment (in contrast to his treatment of NATO allies), and whined that the Mueller investigation had “kept us separated.” The man who swore to put America first blamed America first for poor relations with Russia.

What you saw in Putin was the cat who’d swallowed the canary. He was calm. He smiled. We later learned that on his way to Helsinki, his plane had violated NATO air space by flying over Estonia without permission. He is rubbing our noses in it.

“There was no collusion,” President Trump keeps saying. It may be true or it may not. But his behavior in Helsinki, like so much of what he says and does, reveals a shallow, unworthy, power-worshipping man who does not understand what he is sworn to uphold.

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  1. Kozak Member
    Kozak
    @Kozak

    Painter Jean (View Comment):

    Kozak (View Comment):

    Painter Jean (View Comment):
    Who said anything about wanting war with Russia?? This is what you see as the only choice? How about simply not rolling over like a lap dog for Putin? How about not suggesting that the US is the moral equivalent of Russia? For the second time, I might add?

    Right lap dog.

    Thats why he’s increased US military presence in the Baltic and Poland, and we have new defense agreements with Sweden and Finland. That’s why we are finally sending lethal military aid to Ukraine. That’s why we fought against Russian mercs in Syria. That’s why we increased the Defense budget. That’s why he’s trying to hold NATO’s feet to the fire to increase defense spending. That’s why he tried to get Germany to bail on another pipeline increasing their dependence on Russian gas.

    I’m happy with all that you have mentioned. Actions speak louder than words, and so I think this latest embarrassment will blow over quickly. But as for the pipeline: yes, he rightly criticized Merkel for making the deal with Russia, but after meeting with Putin, he backed down and wished the Russians luck.

    Just a week ago he was being lectured by the same people about how he was wrong to bring it up with the Germans.  Maybe he listened. Maybe behind closed doors he’s still pushing for LNG terminals to ship US gas.

    • #61
  2. Kozak Member
    Kozak
    @Kozak

    Painter Jean (View Comment):

    Kozak (View Comment):

    Painter Jean (View Comment):
    Who said anything about wanting war with Russia?? This is what you see as the only choice? How about simply not rolling over like a lap dog for Putin? How about not suggesting that the US is the moral equivalent of Russia? For the second time, I might add?

    Right lap dog.

    Thats why he’s increased US military presence in the Baltic and Poland, and we have new defense agreements with Sweden and Finland. That’s why we are finally sending lethal military aid to Ukraine. That’s why we fought against Russian mercs in Syria. That’s why we increased the Defense budget. That’s why he’s trying to hold NATO’s feet to the fire to increase defense spending. That’s why he tried to get Germany to bail on another pipeline increasing their dependence on Russian gas.

    I’m happy with all that you have mentioned. Actions speak louder than words, and so I think this latest embarrassment will blow over quickly. But as for the pipeline: yes, he rightly criticized Merkel for making the deal with Russia, but after meeting with Putin, he backed down and wished the Russians luck.

    Yes actions speak louder then words.  hence not the lap dog you accused him of being.

    • #62
  3. Jamie Lockett Inactive
    Jamie Lockett
    @JamieLockett

    Those that refuse to criticize the President have no leg to stand on when arguing against those that only criticize the President. You’re both as bad as each other. 

    • #63
  4. Matt Y. Inactive
    Matt Y.
    @MattY

    DrewInWisconsin (View Comment):

    To suggest that anyone critical of the president’s conduct opposes diplomacy is to employ a strawman argument. It’s virtue signaling, not libertarianism.

    Libertarianism?
    Anyway, the point isn’t “opposing diplomacy” (that itself is a straw man), it’s misunderstanding how to conduct diplomacy.

    The virtue being signaled is opposition to all things “neocon.” If someone doesn’t like how the meeting transpired, it must be because that person is a Deep State anti-Trump neocon warmonger, etc.

    More straw men followed by false choices.I don’t know how to not repeat myself. What, specifically, was the problem? What did these people want the President to do instead? The people who keep saying that the President should have stood there at the press conference and accused Putin of wrongdoing are not taking diplomacy seriously. You just don’t do that.

    Don’t you?

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2018/07/17/how-difficult-is-it-to-confront-putin-unlike-trump-world-leaders-appear-to-have-few-issues/?utm_term=.9eb8b3653704

    When Macron met Putin for the first time shortly after the election last May, he didn’t hold back.

    “Russia Today (RT) and Sputnik were organs of influence during this campaign which, on several occasions, told lies about myself and my campaign…. Russia Today and Sputnik did not behave as media organizations and journalists, but as agencies of influence and propaganda, lying propaganda — no more, no less,” Macron said, standing next to Putin at a news conference. Both RT and Sputnik are funded by the Russian government and have denied Macron’s accusations.

    The statement came before the U.S. elections and the poisoning of a former Russian spy living in Britain, and when May refers to Putin these days, what she has to say sounds very different. In November, for instance, she accused the Kremlin of trying to “undermine free societies” and “sow discord” in Britain and the Western world.

    “So I have a very simple message for Russia. We know what you are doing. And you will not succeed,” May said during a speech.

    He doesn’t have to get in his face and yell at him. Simply defend America and American interests, don’t question his own intelligence community as if he believes the word of a foreign dictator instead, and declare that he told Putin it must stop. “I made it clear that Russian interference in our domestic affairs, and those of our allies, must end. It will not be tolerated.” IT’S NOT THAT HARD. And forget the summit, we’re still waiting on Trump to talk tough on Russia on any occasion. He calls the EU a “foe”, he calls the American press “enemy of the people”, and yet he claims he doesn’t like to use the term “adversary” when asked about Russia. Right.

    • #64
  5. DrewInWisconsin Member
    DrewInWisconsin
    @DrewInWisconsin

    Matt Y. (View Comment):
    And forget the summit, we’re still waiting on Trump to talk tough on Russia on any occasion.

    Uh . . . okay, now I know you’re just not paying attention.

    • #65
  6. Curt North Inactive
    Curt North
    @CurtNorth

    DrewInWisconsin (View Comment):

    Matt Y. (View Comment):
    And forget the summit, we’re still waiting on Trump to talk tough on Russia on any occasion.

    Uh . . . okay, now I know you’re just not paying attention.

    No kidding, what must the guy do to get any credit for his policy towards Russia?

    http://thehill.com/opinion/white-house/397212-president-trump-is-tougher-on-russia-in-18-months-than-obama-in-eight

    And this article is from The Hill, hardly a bastion of proud deplorables.  Folks who say he’s going easy on Russia truly are willfully ignorant of the facts or paying way too much attention to 90 seconds of audio at a presser. 

    • #66
  7. Franco Member
    Franco
    @Franco

    Painter Jean (View Comment):

    Kozak (View Comment):

    Painter Jean (View Comment):
    Who said anything about wanting war with Russia?? This is what you see as the only choice? How about simply not rolling over like a lap dog for Putin? How about not suggesting that the US is the moral equivalent of Russia? For the second time, I might add?

    Right lap dog.

    Thats why he’s increased US military presence in the Baltic and Poland, and we have new defense agreements with Sweden and Finland. That’s why we are finally sending lethal military aid to Ukraine. That’s why we fought against Russian mercs in Syria. That’s why we increased the Defense budget. That’s why he’s trying to hold NATO’s feet to the fire to increase defense spending. That’s why he tried to get Germany to bail on another pipeline increasing their dependence on Russian gas.

    I’m happy with all that you have mentioned. Actions speak louder than words, and so I think this latest embarrassment will blow over quickly. But as for the pipeline: yes, he rightly criticized Merkel for making the deal with Russia, but after meeting with Putin, he backed down and wished the Russians luck.

    Not only do people not understand Trump ( or often misunderstand him deliberately) but they don’t understand how the world operates.

    Consider Trump to be a coach of a basketball team. Merkel is a player and she turned the ball over to the other team a few times. Coach Trump calls her out. He doesn’t say Merkle should be traded, he doesn’t say his team is bad because one of his players made some mistakes. Talking to the other coach Putin after the game, he says good game and good luck in the next game.

    He expects the other team to try to win. He can only criticize his players, attacking the other side for trying to win ( or even playing unfairly) is not a sign of a good coach. In fact these coaches rarely exist even on the high school level.

    • #67
  8. CarolJoy Coolidge
    CarolJoy
    @CarolJoy

    Painter Jean (View Comment):

    DrewInWisconsin (View Comment):

    Painter Jean (View Comment):
    I don’t recall that criticism of Reagan from the Right was met with “NeverReagan”!, or the assertion that they wanted Carter to win.

    Yeah, I wonder why Trump’s opponents on the right hate him so very, very much. It’s not healthy, and it doesn’t help us fight the scourge of leftism. Rather, it aids their cause by hampering the President from enacting an agenda that has been heretofore entirely conservative.SNIP

    So why are they hindering him?

    I think you have to admit that his behavior is often reprehensible… I was raised to be polite — if I had ever brought a man like Trump home to my meet my parents, they would have despaired! He is rude, crude, and vulgar. He’s comfortable lying and smearing people — that whole business about Ted Cruz’s father being part of the JFK conspiracy, snarking about women’s looks, his affairs — that turns quite a few people off, including me. He comes off as very ignorant about important matters. But – he has picked good people who aren’t any of those things, and so I am mostly happy with how things are going. If fiscal responsibility is high in your priority list, there’s not much to recommend him, but then SNIP

    I think the hard-core Trump critics on the Right are worried that he will forever taint the cause of conservatism.SNIP

    I fully agree with you about his rudeness & tirades. Often he is offensive for no reason.

    But I am not at all sure about how he doesn’t understand fiscal responsibility. He did sign on to a large spending bill to have a budget enacted. But since in the past,  various elements inside Congress have held  the budgetary process hostage, by threatening to shut down the government, I am not sure what he could have done.

    Whenever Congress shuts down the government and remains closed down, the economy suffers. 20 billion was lost during one of the shutdowns under Obama’s watch. This activity hurts the small business person the most, as well as the people employed at government agencies. (And also employees at the small businesses.)

    With Trump forcing the European officials to pay for NATO, with his pulling us out of the Paris Accords, and with a roaring economy so that fewer households need food stamps, unemployment bennies and other aspects of not working, there are savings. His stance on immigration is saving the tax payers in Calif a bundle, although that will never get mentioned. (New arrivals can sign up for AFDC, housing vouchers, food stamps and med insurance, the day after they cross the border.)

    His tariff strategy will take time to fully work. A captain of a large ship has to slow the ship while the course is adjusted. I also suspect that those crunching the numbers around the tariff issue are seeing only the negatives and over looking the positives.

    • #68
  9. Dave Matheny Inactive
    Dave Matheny
    @DaveMatheny

    Curt North (View Comment):

    DrewInWisconsin (View Comment):

    Matt Y. (View Comment):
    And forget the summit, we’re still waiting on Trump to talk tough on Russia on any occasion.

    Uh . . . okay, now I know you’re just not paying attention.

    No kidding, what must the guy do to get any credit for his policy towards Russia?

    http://thehill.com/opinion/white-house/397212-president-trump-is-tougher-on-russia-in-18-months-than-obama-in-eight

    And this article is from The Hill, hardly a bastion of proud deplorables. Folks who say he’s going easy on Russia truly are willfully ignorant of the facts or paying way too much attention to 90 seconds of audio at a presser.

    Sorry, Painter Jean here – I’m sitting at my husband’s computer and started typing away before realizing that what I wrote would appear under his name!

    I give him – or at any rate, his administration – credit for policy. No doubt about it. But will Trump ever voice any criticism of Putin? Waiting…..waiting…..he’s pretty free with criticisms of others, but is strangely silent about Russia. As long as the policy doesn’t match his silence, though, I’m not overly worked up about it. I think he just admires dictators and tyrants.

    • #69
  10. Curt North Inactive
    Curt North
    @CurtNorth

    Dave Matheny (View Comment):
    As long as the policy doesn’t match his silence, though, I’m not overly worked up about it. I think he just admires dictators and tyrants.

    For not being overly worked up about it, you seem to be pretty worked up about it.  So you want him to stride up and bop Putin in the nose, or a verbal version of that.  Just like Obama did, then W before that..oh yeah, they all did their best to get along with the guy pointing thousands of nukes at us.  Remember Reagan going on about how great it was to work with Gorby?  He did, yet was able to call the Soviets an evil empire.  Trump is able to be congenial to Putin, yet slap him with tough sanctions and scold Germany for handing billions over to the commie bastards.  

    No doubt if Trump had publicly insulted Putin the way many seem to want, the gripe today would be how rude and uncivilized Trump is for being mean to a fellow world leader, there’s no winning for him in some eyes.  To say you think he admires dictators and tyrants is a pretty interesting thing to say, you read minds now?  I can’t invalidate your feelings I guess, those are yours to keep, but I’m glad the real world doesn’t run on anyone’s feelings but rather on hard policy, where we’re winning left and right.  

    • #70
  11. Fake John/Jane Galt Coolidge
    Fake John/Jane Galt
    @FakeJohnJaneGalt

    Jesus Christ people.  Trump blew a press conference.  So what.  He is basically an amateur politician / actor on the world stage and got outclassed by a pro.  Looked to me that he basically got caught flat footed at the press conference.  Not sure why.  Maybe he was concentrating on Putin and forgot the MSM, Left and NeverTrump are actually bigger enemies to him.  I suspect he has learned that lesson and will not do it again.  

    • #71
  12. CarolJoy Coolidge
    CarolJoy
    @CarolJoy

    Fake John/Jane Galt (View Comment):

    Jesus Christ people. Trump blew a press conference. So what. He is basically an amateur politician / actor on the world stage and got outclassed by a pro. Looked to me that he basically got caught flat footed at the press conference. Not sure why. Maybe he was concentrating on Putin and forgot the MSM, Left and NeverTrump are actually bigger enemies to him. I suspect he has learned that lesson and will not do it again.

    It has been said that Trump has studied Sun Tzu’s Art of War, and that is the source of  his negotiating skills.

    I think he is ignoring the MSM, the Left and the Never Trump fanatics. Do you realize how many times the guy has been told, “Never”??

    He was told that he would never host a TV show, that he would never succeed at being the “R”s candidate for the Oval Office, and that he would never win the Presidency.

    He keeps his eyes on the prizes, and one of those prizes is to keep us out of a major war with the only contender who with our help could incinerate the entire planet. He is already announcing his plans for a second summit.

    • #72
  13. Jamie Lockett Inactive
    Jamie Lockett
    @JamieLockett

    Fake John/Jane Galt (View Comment):

    Jesus Christ people. Trump blew a press conference. So what. He is basically an amateur politician / actor on the world stage and got outclassed by a pro. Looked to me that he basically got caught flat footed at the press conference. Not sure why. Maybe he was concentrating on Putin and forgot the MSM, Left and NeverTrump are actually bigger enemies to him. I suspect he has learned that lesson and will not do it again.

    See when you say something like NeverTrump being a bigger enemy than Putin it causes those of us who are concerned about this press conference to be more worried not less. 

    • #73
  14. Kozak Member
    Kozak
    @Kozak

    Fake John/Jane Galt (View Comment):

    Jesus Christ people. Trump blew a press conference. So what. He is basically an amateur politician / actor on the world stage and got outclassed by a pro. Looked to me that he basically got caught flat footed at the press conference. Not sure why. Maybe he was concentrating on Putin and forgot the MSM, Left and NeverTrump are actually bigger enemies to him. I suspect he has learned that lesson and will not do it again.

    Apparently to many that amounts to “High Crimes and Misdemeanors “.   Funny how the folks frothing at the mouth were MIA during the Obama Abomination.

    • #74
  15. Franco Member
    Franco
    @Franco

    Moderator Note:

    This runs afoul of the CoC's "fruitcake clause".

    Jamie Lockett (View Comment):

    Fake John/Jane Galt (View Comment):

    Jesus Christ people. Trump blew a press conference. So what. He is basically an amateur politician / actor on the world stage and got outclassed by a pro. Looked to me that he basically got caught flat footed at the press conference. Not sure why. Maybe he was concentrating on Putin and forgot the MSM, Left and NeverTrump are actually bigger enemies to him. I suspect he has learned that lesson and will not do it again.

    See when you say something like NeverTrump being a bigger enemy than Putin it causes those of us who are concerned about this press conference to be more worried not less.

    Be worried. Either the Trump administration succeeds and your America will be great again, or if it is thwarted by elements you clearly align yourself with, it will be hell to pay. I’m worried because it’s becoming obvious that the left and the deep state and their allies on the ‘right’ are pushing for a civil war.

    • #75
  16. DrewInWisconsin Member
    DrewInWisconsin
    @DrewInWisconsin

    Franco (View Comment):

    Be worried. Either the Trump administration succeeds and your America will be great again, or if it is thwarted by elements you clearly align yourself with, it will be hell to pay. I’m worried because it’s becoming obvious that the left and the deep state and their allies on the ‘right’ are pushing for a civil war.

    I don’t know if they’re pushing for a civil war, but they’re certainly too deep in the swamp to give a thought to how this all looks from outside. This idea that Republicans can oust President Trump and still expect Trump Voters to help them win future elections is pure fantasy. They think that Trump is killing the Republican party, yet they’re the ones standing over the body with bloody knives in their hands.

    • #76
  17. Jager Coolidge
    Jager
    @Jager

    Jamie Lockett (View Comment):

    Fake John/Jane Galt (View Comment):

    Jesus Christ people. Trump blew a press conference. So what. He is basically an amateur politician / actor on the world stage and got outclassed by a pro. Looked to me that he basically got caught flat footed at the press conference. Not sure why. Maybe he was concentrating on Putin and forgot the MSM, Left and NeverTrump are actually bigger enemies to him. I suspect he has learned that lesson and will not do it again.

    See when you say something like NeverTrump being a bigger enemy than Putin it causes those of us who are concerned about this press conference to be more worried not less.

    I actually do see your point here. That said, when people with concerns about Trump say things like cult, god-king, hero worship or Lord and Master, it makes his supporters less likely to be concerned about the things that worry you. 

    Republicans/Conservatives are continuing to support a Republican President even in bad times. This has happened quite frequently through history. Nixon still has supporters on the way out the door. 

    • #77
  18. Franco Member
    Franco
    @Franco

    Moderator Note:

    The mods will do you the courtesy here of presuming these remarks of yours apply *only* to Beltway Pundits, and not to fellow Ricochet members, to whom it would be imputing bad faith.

    DrewInWisconsin (View Comment):

    Franco (View Comment):

    Be worried. Either the Trump administration succeeds and your America will be great again, or if it is thwarted by elements you clearly align yourself with, it will be hell to pay. I’m worried because it’s becoming obvious that the left and the deep state and their allies on the ‘right’ are pushing for a civil war.

    I don’t know if they’re pushing for a civil war, but they’re certainly too deep in the swamp to give a thought to how this all looks from outside. This idea that Republicans can oust President Trump and still expect Trump Voters to help them win future elections is pure fantasy. They think that Trump is killing the Republican party, yet they’re the ones standing over the body with bloody knives in their hands.

    This is something you and I both are utterly mystified at.

    I’ve come to believe they don’t care. They can’t possibly reconcile how they can restart their old GOP and have it attract Trump voters. 

    Now,  they have demonstrated they are politically myopic already- in spades! – but that still doesn’t account for this. It’s obvious they really don’t care about policies they’ve been advocating for. They really just want an illusion. A Mitt Romney who will make them feel good and pretend to move in a conservative direction. They secretly want to be liked by and accepted by liberals, and they think the left isn’t much of a threat to America. These people like Mona Charen are immune from the effects of leftism. They are not immune from cultural degradation but they believe that it can be remedied by electing politicians like Obama and Romney. It’s so clear to me now where their priorities lie.

    They may have already jumped ship and this is merely their ‘excuse’ they use as a psychological defense. 

    • #78
  19. Jamie Lockett Inactive
    Jamie Lockett
    @JamieLockett

    Franco (View Comment):

    Jamie Lockett (View Comment):

    Fake John/Jane Galt (View Comment):

    Jesus Christ people. Trump blew a press conference. So what. He is basically an amateur politician / actor on the world stage and got outclassed by a pro. Looked to me that he basically got caught flat footed at the press conference. Not sure why. Maybe he was concentrating on Putin and forgot the MSM, Left and NeverTrump are actually bigger enemies to him. I suspect he has learned that lesson and will not do it again.

    See when you say something like NeverTrump being a bigger enemy than Putin it causes those of us who are concerned about this press conference to be more worried not less.

    Be worried. Either the Trump administration succeeds and your America will be great again, or if it is thwarted by elements you clearly align yourself with, it will be hell to pay. I’m worried because it’s becoming obvious that the left and the deep state and their allies on the ‘right’ are pushing for a civil war.

     

    Threats? Look it’s quite possible that the President succeeds and “makes America great again” (I happen to think it’s already pretty great). It’s also possible he succeeds at some of his goals and completely destroys the post WW2 order – Americas single greatest achievement. This all or nothing proposition regarding the President is so tiresome and quite idiotic. The real truth, the real end result of this administration will be in the middle of everyone’s expectations. 

    • #79
  20. DrewInWisconsin Member
    DrewInWisconsin
    @DrewInWisconsin

    Jamie Lockett (View Comment):
    The real truth, the real end result of this administration will be in the middle of everyone’s expectations. 

    Given that he’s already far exceeded everyone’s expectations, how sure are you of this “middle” prediction? Or is “middle” constantly being adjusted upwards?

    • #80
  21. Jamie Lockett Inactive
    Jamie Lockett
    @JamieLockett

    Jager (View Comment):

    Jamie Lockett (View Comment):

    Fake John/Jane Galt (View Comment):

    Jesus Christ people. Trump blew a press conference. So what. He is basically an amateur politician / actor on the world stage and got outclassed by a pro. Looked to me that he basically got caught flat footed at the press conference. Not sure why. Maybe he was concentrating on Putin and forgot the MSM, Left and NeverTrump are actually bigger enemies to him. I suspect he has learned that lesson and will not do it again.

    See when you say something like NeverTrump being a bigger enemy than Putin it causes those of us who are concerned about this press conference to be more worried not less.

    I actually do see your point here. That said, when people with concerns about Trump say things like cult, god-king, hero worship or Lord and Master, it makes his supporters less likely to be concerned about the things that worry you.

    Republicans/Conservatives are continuing to support a Republican President even in bad times. This has happened quite frequently through history. Nixon still has supporters on the way out the door.

     

    Here’s the thing: there are those of us who praise Trump mightily when he does things we think are right, and criticize him when he does things we think are wrong. For that, we excoriated on this site by a certain subset of members who possess an all or nothing attitude. When we praise we get no credit, when we criticize we get nothing but vitriol. I criticized President Bush when he did things I thought were wrong like NCLB, the War in Iraq, the auto bailouts, the bank bailouts you name it – and there wasn’t the level of vitriolic pushback that President Trump elicits. I criticized Congress when they did things I thought were bad – that was okay. It’s only this specific politician who elicits that kind of response from a very vocal minority of Republicans. They take it personally. They make it seem as if criticizing your own side is beyond the realm of politics (nevermind that they routinely criticize Republican politicians they happen to disagree with). Then they say things like “How can they expect to win without the Trump Voters” which is a childish temper tantrum of a statement. If they change the Republican Party in such a way as to alienate say Free Marketeers through abjectly protectionist trade policies should we not worry about losing those votes? What about Foreign Policy Hawks whenever POTUS makes googly eyes at a foreign dictator while acting like a bull in a china shop with our allies? Should we not worry about losing those voters?

    You want people to stop thinking you’re in a cult of personality, well at least acknowledge their criticisms instead of dismissing them as NeverTrumpers or sufferers of Trump Derangement Syndrome. Otherwise, those calls are just going to continue. 

    • #81
  22. Jamie Lockett Inactive
    Jamie Lockett
    @JamieLockett

    DrewInWisconsin (View Comment):

    Jamie Lockett (View Comment):
    The real truth, the real end result of this administration will be in the middle of everyone’s expectations.

    Given that he’s already far exceeded everyone’s expectations, how sure are you of this “middle” prediction? Or is “middle” constantly being adjusted upwards?

    Far exceeded in some. Met in others. Severely underperformed in others. I’m other words a mixed bag. In the middle.

    • #82
  23. DrewInWisconsin Member
    DrewInWisconsin
    @DrewInWisconsin

    Jamie Lockett (View Comment):

    DrewInWisconsin (View Comment):

    Jamie Lockett (View Comment):
    The real truth, the real end result of this administration will be in the middle of everyone’s expectations.

    Given that he’s already far exceeded everyone’s expectations, how sure are you of this “middle” prediction? Or is “middle” constantly being adjusted upwards?

    Far exceeded in some. Met in others. Severely underperformed in others. I’m other words a mixed bag. In the middle.

    • #83
  24. Painter Jean Member
    Painter Jean
    @PainterJean

    CarolJoy (View Comment):

    I fully agree with you about his rudeness & tirades. Often he is offensive for no reason.

    But I am not at all sure about how he doesn’t understand fiscal responsibility.

    During the campaign, he said he wouldn’t touch Social Security and Medicare; that he could save all kinds of money by cutting out “waste, fraud, and abuse”. Yeah right. The main drivers of our looming fiscal cliff are entitlement programs – Social Security and Medicare. They’re on course to go bankrupt, and in fact Medicare’s bankruptcy was recently moved forward by eight years sooner than previously expected. No one who understands fiscal responsibility would tell Americans that they don’t have to reform those programs, but that’s what he did. Now, in fairness to Trump, he’s not the only spineless wonder on this subject. The voters don’t seem to care about the issue much, and in fact candidates who run on getting our fiscal house in order haven’t done well. So I don’t blame Trump for doing what everyone else does — kick the can down the road and let it be someone else’s problem. But don’t tell me that he — and our other politicians who avoid this — are being fiscally responsible. They aren’t.

     But since in the past, various elements inside Congress have held the budgetary process hostage, by threatening to shut down the government, I am not sure what he could have done.

    And this is where his rudeness, crudeness, and bloviating get him into trouble. I think he would have a better chance of getting his agenda through if he were more thoughtful and judicious in his behavior, as it would lead to more support.

    • #84
  25. TBA Coolidge
    TBA
    @RobtGilsdorf

    Moderator Note:

    Rude and unhelpful

    Basil Fawlty (View Comment):

    Trump speaks code. Does Charen understand?

    [Redacted] 

    • #85
  26. George Townsend Inactive
    George Townsend
    @GeorgeTownsend

    Henry Racette (View Comment):
    He babbles. I think it’s unlikely that his recent words will have consequences.

     I agree with most this, Hank. Well said. I do have a quibble with what I highlighted. Because it is unlikely does not mean it won’t happen. As I keep saying, words are important. Trump’s actions may not have any consequences. And yet they may. We do not know. Even if we can corral Putin, Trump laid down a predicate for placading dictators. We may pay for this in the future.

    • #86
  27. Painter Jean Member
    Painter Jean
    @PainterJean

    Jamie Lockett (View Comment):

    Jager (View Comment):

    Jamie Lockett (View Comment):

     

    Here’s the thing: there are those of us who praise Trump mightily when he does things we think are right, and criticize him when he does things we think are wrong. For that, we excoriated on this site by a certain subset of members who possess an all or nothing attitude. When we praise we get no credit, when we criticize we get nothing but vitriol. I criticized President Bush when he did things I thought were wrong like NCLB, the War in Iraq, the auto bailouts, the bank bailouts you name it – and there wasn’t the level of vitriolic pushback that President Trump elicits. I criticized Congress when they did things I thought were bad – that was okay. It’s only this specific politician who elicits that kind of response from a very vocal minority of Republicans. They take it personally. They make it seem as if criticizing your own side is beyond the realm of politics (nevermind that they routinely criticize Republican politicians they happen to disagree with). Then they say things like “How can they expect to win without the Trump Voters” which is a childish temper tantrum of a statement. If they change the Republican Party in such a way as to alienate say Free Marketeers through abjectly protectionist trade policies should we not worry about losing those votes? What about Foreign Policy Hawks whenever POTUS makes googly eyes at a foreign dictator while acting like a bull in a china shop with our allies? Should we not worry about losing those voters?

    You want people to stop thinking you’re in a cult of personality, well at least acknowledge their criticisms instead of dismissing them as NeverTrumpers or sufferers of Trump Derangement Syndrome. Otherwise, those calls are just going to continue.

    This sums up my position very well. Thank you!

    • #87
  28. Jager Coolidge
    Jager
    @Jager

    Jamie Lockett (View Comment):

    You want people to stop thinking you’re in a cult of personality, well at least acknowledge their criticisms instead of dismissing them as NeverTrumpers or sufferers of Trump Derangement Syndrome. Otherwise, those calls are just going to continue.

    Yeah I can see this is just going to be a circular argument.

    I am assuming here that your comments here are using a generic “you” as I have not typed NT that I am aware of since the editors asked is to stop using the term. I don’t believe I have ever typed Trump Derangement syndrome.

    There are a number of people fairly supportive of the President here who have not been simply dismissing your claims as NT or TDS we just don’t share them or not to the same degree. For this sin we get called hero worshipers or cultists. If we don’t agree with you it can’t be for any logical reason. Blind obidiance to Trump must be the answer. 

    If you want to defend insulting the intelligence of people you disagree with have at it. I am done here.

    • #88
  29. Jamie Lockett Inactive
    Jamie Lockett
    @JamieLockett

    Jager (View Comment):

    Jamie Lockett (View Comment):

    You want people to stop thinking you’re in a cult of personality, well at least acknowledge their criticisms instead of dismissing them as NeverTrumpers or sufferers of Trump Derangement Syndrome. Otherwise, those calls are just going to continue.

    Yeah I can see this is just going to be a circular argument.

    I am assuming here that your comments here are using a generic “you” as I have not typed NT that I am aware of since the editors asked is to stop using the term. I don’t believe I have ever typed Trump Derangement syndrome.

    There are a number of people fairly supportive of the President here who have not been simply dismissing your claims as NT or TDS we just don’t share them or not to the same degree. For this sin we get called hero worshipers or cultists. If we don’t agree with you it can’t be for any logical reason. Blind obidiance to Trump must be the answer.

    If you want to defend insulting the intelligence of people you disagree with have at it. I am done here.

    Maybe the issue is that too many on both sides of this argument seem to take these arguments preferred against the most extreme examples as emblematic of them. 

    • #89
  30. CarolJoy Coolidge
    CarolJoy
    @CarolJoy

    Painter Jean (View Comment):

    CarolJoy (View Comment):

    I fully agree with you about his rudeness & tirades. Often he is offensive for no reason.

    But I am not at all sure about how he doesn’t understand fiscal responsibility.

    During the campaign, he said he wouldn’t touch Social Security and Medicare; that he could save all kinds of money by cutting out “waste, fraud, and abuse”…The main drivers of our looming fiscal cliff are entitlement programs – Social Security and Medicare. They’re on course to go bankrupt, and in fact Medicare’s bankruptcy was recently moved forward by eight years sooner than previously expected. No one who understands fiscal responsibility would tell Americans that they don’t have to reform those programs, but that’s what he did. Now, in fairness to Trump, he’s not the only spineless wonder on this subject. The voters don’t seem to care about the issue much, and in fact candidates who run on getting our fiscal house in order haven’t done well… don’t blame Trump for doing what everyone else does — kick the can down the road to be someone else’s problem. But don’t tell me that he — and our other politicians who avoid this — are being fiscally responsible…

    But since in the past, various elements inside Congress have held the budgetary process hostage, by threatening to shut down the government, I am not sure what he could have done.

    SNIP

    MediCare has one huge flaw that can be easily fixed: it allows for anyone who can show they have been inside this country for 10 years, and paid into it for a whopping five years, to receive full MediCare bennies when they turn 65. People on both the Right and the Left  who see no harm in having open borders need to think about what this means.

    This leniency could easily be stopped. Only instead of this situation being corrected, we constantly hear from various experts who tell us that due to our low birth rate, we need massive numbers of new  immigrants in order to keep MediCare and Soc Security alive.

    This lie was presented to those of us who lived in LA, San Fran and Sacramento during the 1980’s. Then by 1997 or so, several experts realized how the young immigrants bring in their parents to watch their kids. When the kids finally become school age, the grandmother is working somewhere, often for a nursing agency where she pays into the MC program.

    M/C is already a time bomb, but when our politicians won’t fix the easier aspects of the problem, how can we entrust them to do anything right? Congress critters need to roll up their sleeves. (Not to say the Pres shouldn’t as well, but he has been working over time lately.)

    • #90
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