Thomas Friedman, a three-time Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for the New York Times, wrote a ridiculous op-ed titled “Whatever Trump Is Hiding Is Hurting All of Us Now,” which has become the number one article on the NY Times’ “Most Emailed,” “Most Viewed” and “Most Shared on Facebook” lists. Friedman also told CNN that it’s “the most widely circulated column I’ve ever written.”
Here are the first two paragraphs:
“Our democracy is in serious danger.
President Trump is either totally compromised by the Russians or is a towering fool, or both, but either way he has shown himself unwilling or unable to defend America against a Russian campaign to divide and undermine our democracy.”
No, our “democracy” is not in serious danger. I’ll get back to that later.
Let’s start with the claim that Trump is “unwilling or unable to defend America against a Russian campaign to divide and undermine our democracy.” This is simply not true.
Friedman also claims that Trump has refused “to respond to Russia’s direct attack on our system — a quiescence that is simply unprecedented for any U.S. president in history. Russia is not our friend. It has acted in a hostile manner. And Trump keeps ignoring it all.” Again, this is not true.
Liberals and journalists keep saying “facts matter.” Okay, then let’s talk about the Trump administration’s actions, not words, toward Russia. Here is a list of indisputable facts:
- The Trump admin. has kept 100% of the sanctions already in place by Obama.
- The Trump admin. ordered Russia to shutter a consulate in San Francisco as well as annexes in Washington and New York.
- The Trump admin. approved lethal arms sales to Ukraine.
- Trump admin. sanctioned 52 people related to the Global Magnitsky Act.
- The Trump admin.’s National Security Strategy review was critical of Russia.
- The Trump admin. launched 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at Syria’s Shayrat Airbase, pissing off Russia.
- In August 2017, he signed into law a Russian sanctions bill that levied new sanctions against Russia and restricted Trump’s own ability to ease sanctions. Yes, he had reservations, but he still signed it when he could’ve vetoed it.
- The Trump admin. recently killed hundreds of Russian soldiers in Syria.
There are probably more facts I could mention, but I think you get the picture.
Now, some could argue Trump hasn’t gone far enough. That argument has merit, but you simply can’t ignore these 8 facts and call Trump a “Putin Puppet” or a “Manchurian candidate,” especially if you’re one of those people who has been screaming and tweeting “facts matter” ever since Trump told Spicer to peddle a petty lie about the Inauguration crowd size.
There is almost no chance President Trump is compromised by Russia. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have done any of those 8 things I mentioned above.
No intellectually honest person can say Trump is compromised. His administration is way too tough on Russia for that to be the case.
“Donald, if you are so innocent, why do you go to such extraordinary lengths to try to shut Mueller down?” Friedman claimed in the 12th paragraph. “And if you are really the president — not still head of the Trump Organization, who moonlights as president, which is how you so often behave — why don’t you actually lead — lead not only a proper cyberdefense of our elections, but also an offense against Putin.”
If Trump went to “extraordinary lengths” to shut Mueller down, Mueller would be fired by now. Let’s review an important FACT: Mueller launched the probe on May 17, 2017. It’s been nearly ten months and Mueller hasn’t been fired. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who appointed him, has also not been fired.
Let me emphasize this FACT: Trump, at any time, could’ve fired Mueller and Rosenstein in the past ten months. He hasn’t.
Let me finish with Friedman’s insane comparison of Russian cybersecurity attacks with the 9/11 attacks. On September 11, 2001, nearly 3,000 people died in our homeland.
The Russian interference in our election via Twitter trolls, a mere $100k in Facebook ads, and the hacking of the DNC as well as John Podesta – yielded zero deaths.
Of course, Russian interference was both illegal and unethical. We should keep the sanctions on them and continue to be tough on them. And yes, we should add even more sanctions on Russia. We should also do what is necessary to prevent Russia from doing it again.
No, our “democracy” is not in serious danger. But I’m pretty sure Thomas Friedman’s sanity is in serious danger.