“What do you think? Our country’s so innocent?”
By Dan Rather
Donald Trump is a fan of Vladimir Putin. That is not a secret.
That is not an "alternative fact". That is a reality that the President of the United States is all too willing and eager to share.
And it will shape our foreign policy for years to come.
Mr. Trump's Congressional supporters (and so far precious few in the GOP have broken with him on any vote of substance) and the President's national security team must contend with this reality.
The rest of us have to live in it.
In an interview set to air before the Super Bowl with Fox's Bill O'Reilly Mr. Trump said, “It’s better to get along with Russia than not.” Mr. O’Reilly responded “But he’s a killer, though. Putin’s a killer.”
Mr. Trump was not swayed. “There are a lot of killers,” he retorted. “We’ve got a lot of killers. What do you think? Our country’s so innocent?”
And never mind the killers who act more subtly through the pollution of our environment and the denial of social services.
But there is no world where the moral equivalence of the United States and Putin's Russia is equal.
The reasons are far too numerous to count.
And a wily operative like Putin knows what he's got. For example, he may even throw a PR bone to Mr. Trump by say making a deal on the Crimea in exchange for the easing of sanctions.
People like Mr. Putin play for the long game.
It boggles the mind to hear a President of the United States make these claims of moral equivalence.
The series of brain synapses that formed Mr. Trump's thoughts and delivered his words are the same instincts and beliefs that are responsible for the health and safety of our country.
Will those who have the President's ear explain the dire dangers of his rhetoric?