Donald Trump's feckless response tells other countries they can attack us without fear of repercussions.
A day after meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit, Donald Trump told reporters that he doesn’t want to enforce sanctions on Russia because he would rather deal with the Kremlin as a friend.
The sanctions package, which passed through Congress with approval from an overwhelming bipartisan majority, was a direct response to Russia’s unprecedented interference in the 2016 presidential election, as well as their human rights violations and military aggression in Ukraine.
Trump begrudgingly signed the sanctions into law on Aug. 2 and had until Oct. 1 to start implementing them. After blowing past that deadline with no explanation, a new deadline of January 2017 was set to implement the sanctions targeting Russia’s defense, intelligence, and energy sectors.
But on Sunday, Trump said Russia has already been “very, very heavily sanctioned” and suggested that we should try to make friends with the country that is actively trying to undermine our nation’s democratic process.
Being on better terms with Russia, Trump said, would be “an asset to the world.”
He went on to parrot more Kremlin-approved talking points, insisting that we can only fight terrorism and solve other global issues if we let Russia do whatever they want, without consequences.
“We have to get to work to solve Syria, to solve North Korea, to solve Ukraine, to solve terrorism,” Trump said. “People don’t realize Russia has been very, very heavily sanctioned. They were sanctioned at a very high level, and that took place very recently. It’s now time to get back to healing a world that is shattered and broken.”
“I feel that having Russia in a friendly posture, as opposed to always fighting with them, is an asset to the world and an asset to our country, not a liability,” he said.
During news conf with Vietnamese president Trump signaled he wants to relax Russia sanctions despite ongoing probe into meddling. pic.twitter.com/3EmyuCXv0G
— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) November 12, 2017
Trump also took a swing at Hillary Clinton, saying the former Secretary of State wanted to “get back together with Russia.”
Clinton is actually known for taking a hardline stance against Russian aggression. In fact, her views on Russia — and her willingness to publicly condemn Putin’s corrupt government — are thought to have played a role in Putin’s decision to undermine her presidential campaign.
Trump then tried to compare his own fecklessness towards Russia to President Obama’s foreign policy. What he failed to say was President Obama actually worked tirelessly behind the scenes to retaliate against Putin for interfering in our democratic process.
Trump’s latest attempt to back away from enforcing the sanctions he was compelled to sign not only makes America look weak on the global stage — it also tells other countries that they can attack us without fear of repercussions.
So much for “America first.”