A Mirror Reflection: Republicans and Russians Entangled in a Perverse Love Affair
Over the past year or so, President Donald Trump has viciously attacked several targets.
He’s attacked his victims at campaign rallies, press conferences, interviews, and most notably on social media (Twitter). Each attack plenty of evidence. No one disputes these attacks have occurred, which number in the hundreds. Momentarily, I’ll get to a partial list of those Trump been attacked.
Amidst all the bombastic bluster, there’s one notable person who hasn’t been attacked. Moreover, the nation he rules with an iron fist and the acts of aggression he’s taken haven’t received even a peep of criticism, despite what’s become an autocratic state teetering on fascism now engaged in hostile military action against its neighbors.
Not a single tweet from the President of the United States in response.
Not a single time.
Not a single comment.
So, who is this individual enjoying presidential immunity? And what makes him the unlikely beneficiary of so much love and admiration in the face of so many other petty attacks on far less significant public figures.
Let’s examine the record. Here’s a partial list of notable people and public institutions which have been attacked by President Trump within the past 12 months. There’s ONE NOTABLE EXCEPTION:
President Barack Obama — former President (blasted ceaselessly by Trump for the past six years dating back to birther nonsense and recently accused of committing a felony).
CNN — worldwide new organization (blasted numerous times and called “bad people”).
Hillary Clinton — former Secretary of State, U.S. Senator, ex-First Lady, and two-time Presidential candidate (attacked innumerable times, often with fabricated accusations).
The New York Times — one of the world’s most trusted and respected news organizations (attacked dozens of times and repeatedly tagged as “failed,” even its though financials have never been healthier).
The Cast of “Hamilton” — the hottest ticket on Broadway (referred to as “overrated” even though no once can get a ticket at face value and tickets are being scalped at $1,200 a seat).
“Saturday Night Live” — An American television institution (which has been going strong for 41 years and is currently in the midst of a ratings renaissance, largely fueled by Trump-related humor).
Jill Stein — Flawed third-party presidential candidate (which made her an inviting target, because she’s a strong woman and Donald Trump is uncomfortable around strong women).
Sen. Chuck Schumer — Senate Minority Leader (even though Trump donated more money to Schumer than any other senator over the past 20 years, he’s became a frequent target of attacks once Trump became a Republican).
Arnold Schwarzenegger — Disgraced former Republican Governor of California (attacked numerous times for stepping into the starring role on a shitty “reality” television show once fronted by a con-man).
Meryl Streep — A 20-time Oscar nominee — more than any actor in history — and perhaps the most honored film icon of all time (described by Trump as “overrated” in his tweets).
Rosie O’Donnell — Not typically worth anyone’s time or attention (but whom appears to be an unhealthy obsession by the President).
The U.S. Intelligence Community — The NSA, the CIA, the DIA, et al. Roughly 100,000 professionals working around the clock to keep America safe (recently compared to Nazis by President Trump in an incendiary tweet that caused mass derision).
Angela Merkel — Chancellor of Germany and arguably the world’s leading advocate of true democracy (accused by Trump of “ruining Germany” and being “the worst Chancellor of all time”….might want to re-think that one and pick up a textbook referencing “Year 1933,” Mr. President).
Vladimir Putin — Russian dictator and murder.
[READ MORE: BACKGROUND ON PUTIN’S CRITICS WHO HAVE BEEN MURDERED]
Take a guess which individual has not been criticized, not even one time, by President Donald Trump.
So, what’s with the bizarre secret love affair between Republicans and the Russians?
Its not just a cozy relationship. It’s a consensual orgy. Please explain how the patriotic political movement which supposedly champions “love of country” over just about every other virtue has this freaky attraction to a tyrannical regime which has been at odds with the United States for a nearly a century?
Let’s look at history. Thirty years ago President Ronald Reagan called the former Soviet Union “the evil empire.” Today’s tryst between President Donald Trump and Russian murderer-dictator Vladimir Putin would have been unfathomable back then. Now, Republicans aren’t just silent. They’ve become willing accessories, like plodding the alcoholic with free booze and daring him to drink like a man. Based on the volcano of evidence emerging about the Russians meddling in the 2016 American presidential election, it appears that some Republicans might even be traitors.
Indeed, today, when it comes to America’s stance on Russia, Sen. Joe McCarthy would probably be to the left of the Republican Party. That’s how dangerously far out of the mainstream these sycophants have moved, who proclaim the peculiar dictum, “America First.” Sounds like Republicans should change their slogan to “Let’s Make Russia Great Again.”
This isn’t just a Trump thing. The previous Republican president wasn’t so much corrupt, as painfully naive. When George W. Bush met Vladimir Putin for the first time in 2001, he infamously remarked, “I looked (Putin) in the eye. I found him to be very straightforward and trustworthy. We had a very good dialogue. I was able to get a sense of his soul.”
During that jaw-dropping exchange, it should be noted that Putin wore a large cross, symbolic of the Russian Orthodox Church. Bush, an impressionable figure holding deeply religious convictions saw Putin wearing the holy amulet and somehow drew the astounding conclusion that Putin’s character could be assessed with affection. Never mind that Putin has never once been seen wearing that cross since that meeting with the former Republican president. In short, Putin played Bush like a cheap fiddle, tapping into his religious gullibility.
The Republican Right, once convinced Russia was the anti-Christ, did a quick about-face. They snapped into line and marched behind Bush’s stunning personal appraisal of a leader widely-known by every other world power to be a vicious thug. Republicans haven’t departed from this naivete since. They’ve collapsed into an echo chamber of deceit and denial. While Putin consolidated his power within, in part by murdering 293 people in the Russian apartment bombings and later on killing at least 40 political rivals via poisonings and other mysterious methods of murder, few Republicans raised objections. Certainly not President Trump.
[Note: Years later after leaving office, in 2010, former President Bush retreated from this opinion and admitted his previous assessment had been a mistake]
When Russia invaded the Eastern Ukraine in 2014, the Obama Administration took swift action. President Obama instituted bold economic sanctions against the Putin regime and many of his well-connected financial interests, which eventually hampered the Russian economy, including slowing down their oil production and mining exports. Much of the international community joined in the sanctions and bombarded Putin with public criticism, not just for the illegal Ukraine invasion, but for his own internal crackdown which has essentially turned Russia into a dictatorship.
About two years ago, Donald Trump announced his candidacy for President. While all the other candidates from both political parties accurately noted that Putin was a bad guy, Trump stunned everyone. He professed support for many of Putin’s brutal actions. He even expressed personal admiration for Putin.
No one really knows yet why Trump has this mysterious deep-seeded love affair with Putin, a flame-hot attraction which shows no signs of burning out anytime soon. While just about everyone else on the planet calls Putin out what he is — a dictator who rules over Russia like a 21st century version of the Mafia, the president looks the other way. Trump’s odd affections certainly aren’t based on fears of triggering a military escalation. After all, Trump has repeatedly attacked other potential adversaries — including China and North Korea — which pose similar threats to global stability. Only Putin and Russia get a free pass.
Paul Manafort, the corrupt slime ball lobbyist who’s burrowed into each of the last four Republican presidential administrations, has made quite a fortune shilling for many of the world’s most awful dictators. He’s carried the baggage for some real pricks.
Manafort is willing to do anyone’s dirty work, provided they’re willing to shell out millions in “consulting fees.” Manafort, recently exposed for having 15 bank accounts with millions in secret funds [READ MORE: MANAFORT’S SECRET MILLIONS], was discovered to be the beneficiary of about $10 million annually in payments from at least one Russian bank, with close political and financial ties to Putin. Oh, and Paul Manafort used to be Donald Trump’s campaign manager.
Follow the money.
How about Gen. Michael Flynn, Trump’s hand-picked National Security Adviser, who was booted out of the fresh cabinet before he even had a chance to order new business cards? He had meetings with the Russians, too. Flynn committed the blunder of lying about his relationship with the Russians (make that at least one Russian known to be an intelligence agent), even misleading his closest political ally, Vice-President Mike Pence at one point during the internal White House game of musical chairs. Now disgraced, Flynn could emerge as the talking yellow canary as investigations continue to ramp up. [Breaking News: Flynn is now offering to provide full testimony, if provided immunity.]
There’s also the President’s dirty son-in-law, Jared Kushner. His daddy, who initially bankrolled baby Kush when he was first starting out in New York real estate, once served prison time for his financial crimes. Kushner, married to Trump’s daughter Ivanka, now sits in a plum chair as a White House adviser with easy and instant access to top-secret information as well as a direct 24-hour speed dial to the President of the United States.
Trump Administration spokespeople, and even the President himself, have repeatedly denied any connections or secret dealings with the Russians. Nothing to see here, move on, they insist. However, just last week Kushner was exposed to be less than forthcoming about his private talks with the Russians. When it leaked that Kushner met with officials from at least one of the Russian banks currently under economic sanctions, that triggered yet another mad scramble within the West Wing to get their crumbling story straight. Kushner is scheduled to testify soon about his secret relationships with the Russians in front of the House Committee on Intelligence, the highly-partisan panel now engaged in what’s masquerading as an “investigation.”
Manafort. Flynn. Kushner. That’s just a few of the Trump officials now tainted in this dirty cesspool. What is it with all these Trump advisers and the Russians? [READ MORE: TRUMP CAMPAIGN AIDES AND RUSSIAN INTELLIGENCE]
President Trump has lied numerous times about these relationships and secret meetings. It seems implausible he didn’t know his son-in-law, campaign manager, and National Security Adviser were meeting multiple times with the Russians. Hell, it doesn’t seem just implausible. It appears absurd. This begs the famous question that was asked once before during another Constitutional crisis — “What did the President know, and when did he know it?”
What’s been discussed here are the financial ties and behind-the-scenes dirty deals which might favor Russian economic interests and Trump’s financial empire. This doesn’t even begin to take into account creeping suspicions about the Russians meddling in the presidential election, which could be closely related. On one occasion, then-candidate Trump committed an appalling act of treason — which should have been an automatic disqualifier — when he encouraged the Russians to hack into Hillary Clinton’s e-mails. [READ MORE: TRUMP’S CALL FOR RUSSIA TO SPY ON CLINTON]
What’s most puzzling here isn’t so much the questionable behavior of President Trump or his associates, which has become all-too predictable. What’s far more puzzling is the perverted sense of twisted nationalism exhibited by nearly all of his strongest supporters, who continue to deny, deflect, and discard any suggestion that we should be concerned about Russian espionage.
The party that supposedly puts “America first” shares Trump’s cozy feelings about Putin and the Russians. This love fest has now been going on for 16 years, since President Bush’s initial meeting. The party that was once so mistrustful of the Russians (remember “trust but verify?”) now are willing to take them at their word. The party that once stood up for human rights in the former Soviet Union during the dark days of the gulag is all but silent when it comes to Putin murdering his political opponents and shutting down the press. The party of Reagan has morphed into the party of Trump.
This isn’t patriotism we’re witnessing, folks. It’s treason. It’s an unwillingness to face stark reality. It’s refusing to ask legitimate questions that demand answers. It’s about trusting the Commander-in-Chief who might have been compromised by a foreign power.
These are the ugly truths about two political paramours on opposite sides of the globe, but who may, in fact, be much closer in terms of their own tactics and shared world view. It’s way past time to start asking questions as to why President Trump seems so infatuated with Vladimir Putin.
The rest of the world sees a dictator.
President Trump likely sees Putin as a mirror reflection.