At the G20 summit, Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin joked about Russian subversion of the U.S. democratic process while that very thing was happening to Democratic candidate Kamala Harris.
I knew he was bound to do something really stupid and offensive at the G20 summit because he is, after all, Donald Trump. I didn’t expect it to be this stupid and this offensive.
Here’s Trump and Vlad Putin joking—joking, for fuck’s sake—about Russian meddling in the 2020 election while Russian social media bots were doing the same. Seriously. That’s not an exaggeration. Minutes after last week’s “debate” by the mob of Democratic candidates, Russian-linked bots were attacking Kamala Harris.
But that’s not the most twisted and horrible thing Trump and Vlad joked about. They also shared a laugh about “getting rid” of journalists. How awful is this? Let me count the ways:
- Trump has consistently called the news media the “enemy of the people.”
- Trump has refused to punish, reprimand, or respond in any meaningful way to Mohammad bin Salman despite overwhelming evidence that he ordered the murder and dismemberment of Jamal Khashoggi—a U.S. resident and journalist employed by The Washington Post. Mohammad bin Salman has imprisoned at least 20 Saudi journalists critical of his policies.
- Since Vlad Putin took office in 2000, 38 Russian journalists critical of his administration have been murdered. That’s how many journalist deaths have been classified as homicides; dozens more have died under suspicious circumstances.
- Thursday was the anniversary of the Capital Gazette mass murder, in which five employees of the newspaper were killed.
It’s not just that Trump is insensitive; it’s that he just doesn’t care. He doesn’t care if journalists are imprisoned or murdered if those journalists are critical of him.
Trump continues to act as if he’s an asset of Russian intelligence agencies—which is a completely horrific and almost unimaginable thing to say about a U.S. president. The only thing inconsistent with the notion of Trump as a Russian intel asset is that he’s entirely open about it. He doesn’t attempt to disguise it. When a reporter asked him if he was going to discuss election meddling with Putin, Trump responded, “I will have a very good conversation with him. What I say to him is none of your business.”
What Trump and Putin discuss is exactly the business of the news media. It’s the business of the Intelligence Community. And yet Trump has, on several occasions, met privately with Putin and gone to extraordinary lengths to keep those discussions secret. Even to the point of taking possession of his own interpreter’s notes after a meeting (which, by the way, is a violation of presidential record-keeping laws).
To sum up: he is more fond of murdering dictators than freely-elected democratic leaders, hates the idea of a free press, has been accused by a couple dozen women of sexual assault, orders his staff to refuse to honor Congressional subpoenas, deliberately undermines the law enforcement and intelligence communities, welcomes the interference of hostile nations who support his election, casually spreads conspiracy theories, lies to almost everybody about almost everything, and is woefully ignorant about world and domestic affairs.
None of which Congress considers impeachable.
Jeebus tap-dancing Christ.