Does Vladimir Putin have something on Vice President Mike Pence? How about Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his GOP caucus? Is there damning evidence the Russian president holds about each Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives?
If not, then why does no Republican in the federal government save Mitt Romney, a senator from Utah, ever pipe up about the fact that our president never, ever calls Putin out for his actions? Not even for his reportedly having put out a bounty on U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan.
Though the specifics of the link between Putin and President Donald Trump remain unknown, at least to most everyone besides the pair themselves, it’s long been clear that there’s some deep connection. Putin knows something, has something, holds something over Trump’s head. There is no other logical way to explain the former reality TV star’s sycophancy toward the Russian autocrat. And the way he invariably does Putin’s bidding.
On Wednesday, in a video clip of an interview with Trump, the president said he’d not raised the issue of the bounties on the heads of U.S. service members with Putin during a recent telephone conversation. The call, he said, concerned other matters.
On that same day, the removal of some 12,000 U.S. troops from Germany became official. This, it should go without saying, sparked celebrations in the Kremlin.
That Trump always does Putin’s bidding remains disturbing, of course. But it’s no longer any surprise. Trump is weak, Putin is strong, and our president is under the former KGB chief’s thumb. At the end of the day, Trump, if he’s not a Russian asset, continually behaves as one.
That Trump himself has, for some reason, been trying to make Russia great again remains a given. He quakes and quivers and bows down before strongman Putin.
But what’s up with Republicans in Congress and throughout the federal government? Does McConnell, who once appeared to understand well that Moscow was our adversary, now believe that giving Putin what he wants is just A-OK? If so, then why?
In Trump’s new interview, with Axios, he was asked his feelings about news that Russia is supplying weapons to the Taliban in Afghanistan. His response? We did the same thing when the Soviet Union was fighting there in the 1980s.
The Trump doctrine in two words: moral equivalence.