On Wednesday, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump made a serious error. A serious error. He crossed a line, maliciously trespassing into realms never before ventured by someone in his political position. Trump showed on Wednesday that he may not “make America great again,” but instead pose an existential threat to the democratic fabric holding the American tapestry together.
But of course, according Mr. Trump, it was all in jest.
But it’s not at all funny. In fact, it may be the most direct and egregious example of why he should not occupy the White House for the next four years. One cannot simply say —
“Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.”
— and expect those of us with the ability to understand the implication inherent in those words to agree that a.) it’s just a poor attempt at being funny, and b.) it shouldn’t have any real world consequences. This is especially true when that “gaffe” follows a tweet also condoning the use of cyber-espionage.
If Russia or any other country or person has Hillary Clinton's 33,000 illegally deleted emails, perhaps they should share them with the FBI!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 27, 2016
Some are saying that Trump’s comments amount to treason. I would have to agree. Others are saying Trump, in saying what he said, explicitly hoped that the Putin regime would infiltrate Hillary Clinton’s servers, along with State Department communiques, in order to benefit his political campaign. I would also have to agree.
Mr. Trump, however, claims that his comments are meant to be sarcastic. I do not agree and I’m definitely not alone in that assertion.
Fmr. CIA Dir. Panetta on Trump call for Russia HRC hacking: Trump's loyalty to U.S. in question & possible "conspiracy" with a foreign power
— Christiane Amanpour (@camanpour) July 27, 2016
If Trump had been joking, Mike Pence would not have put out a statement trying to distance himself/clean it up.https://t.co/SErFJY7A5c
— Stephen Hayes (@stephenfhayes) July 27, 2016
Wow Clinton response to Trump:
He's asking Russia to do "espionage" on an opponent, beyond politics, this is now "a national security issue"
— Ari Melber (@AriMelber) July 27, 2016
With Trump, sketchy comments are the norm, but Mr. Melber hits it on the head. Trump is effectively opening the door to a serious national security issue, especially when one considers that just last week DNC documents hacked and dumped on Wikileaks, which spelled out in explicit detail the DNC’s efforts to cripple Bernie Sanders’ campaign (up to and including challenging his faith in Southern states), appear to have stemmed from Russia.
Consider further that Vladimir Putin appears to have some serious ties, at least aesthetically, to Donald Trump’s campaign, the possibility that a Trump presidency could constitute an existential threat to the security of the United States is not a possibility that should be quickly dismissed.
We’ve been saying for a year that Donald Trump’s candidacy has been more than a shit-show. It’s been an eye-opening experience in the worst possible way and now, this week, may very well be exposing itself as the existential threat we’ve all feared.
President Bush has been considered the gold standard for what not to do as President of the United States. Depending on the outcome in November, we may be looking at a new baseline.
Featured image by DonkeyHotey, available under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic license.