Donald J. Trump needs to hear a lot more blunt talk from members of his own political party.
He got it today from U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, the South Carolina Republican, who pulled zero punches when talking about the president’s “blind spot” as it regards Russia, Vladimir Putin and the Russian effort to undermine our electoral process.
Sen. Graham said this, among other things, on “Meet the Press” this morning: “When it comes to Russia, I am dumbfounded,” Graham said of Trump’s actions. “I am disappointed and, at the end of the day, he’s hurting his presidency by not embracing the fact that Putin’s a bad guy who tried to undercut our democracy and he’s doing it all over the world. He is literally the only person that I know of that has any doubt about what Russia did in 2016.”
Read more of what Graham said here.
The reality is that the president and Putin met in Hamburg, Germany, in advance of the G20 summit and Trump has decided it’s now time to “move forward” after hearing Putin deny Russian effort to meddle in our 2016 presidential election.
That’s it. Vlad says he didn’t do anything and that’s good enough for me … or so Trump seems to be saying.
Graham is having none of it. Nor should he. Nor should the intelligence professionals who have concluded that the Russians sought to influence the election outcome.
I agree with Graham, moreover, that whatever the Russians did likely didn’t affect the outcome. Trump was elected fair and square. However, the point of Graham’s tirade is that Trump shouldn’t accept Putin’s denial while denigrating — on foreign soil, no less — the U.S. intelligence apparatus’s capability, which Trump did in Hamburg.
Will any of this straight talk matter to the president? No one believes it will change this man’s point of view. His blind spot toward Russia and Putin, though, is “hurting his presidency.”
That means, to me, that he’s hurting the nation.
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