Accuracy in Media

According to a Slate piece Wednesday, President Donald Trump talks a good game about loyalty to country, but he is not loyal and did not represent the United States at the G-7 summit.

“This week, at the G-7 meeting in France, President Trump stood before the world and, for three horrifying minutes, displayed utter incomprehension of allegiance to the United States,” wrote William Saletan in “Trump Did Not Represent The U.S. at the G-7” – subhead: “His comments on Obama and Crimea show he has no national loyalty.”

Trump tried to lobby his fellow heads of state to invite Russia back into the G-7, a point the president has made on numerous occasions, Saletan wrote. 

“Since its suspension, Russia has done a lot for Trump. According to former special counsel Robert Mueller, the Russian government committed crimes to help Trump win the U.S. presidential election in 2016. But Russia has done nothing to rectify its seizure of Crimea.”

Asked why he wanted Russia to return, “Trump replied, matter-of-factly, that the seizure of Crimea was no offense to him. Crimea, he explained, had been ‘taken away from President Obama, not taken away from President Trump.’”

“‘President Obama was helping Ukraine,’” and Obama “resented that President Putin outsmarted President Obama.”

Trump’s answer “clarifies why he continues to work for Russia and against the United States, even after Mueller failed to prove that Trump and Putin colluded during the 2016 election,” Saletan wrote without explanation of how Trump works for Russia.

“Trump has no sense of national loyalty, and he views the United States government, prior to his presidency, as an enemy. This makes him a ready instrument of Putin and other dictators who have tangled with the United States.”

Trump “can’t comprehend” that Crimea was taken from Ukraine and not Obama “because it isn’t about him or his personal rivals. So he defines the invasion as a defeat of Obama – whom Trump regards as his nemesis – and therefore as evidence of Trump’s superiority.”

Trump repeated the word “outsmarted” five times in his answer, Saletan pointed out, because “Trump has no conception of justice or human rights. All he understands is winning and losing. If you win, that makes you better – in Trump’s language, ‘smarter.’ Putin seized Crimea because he is more ruthless than Obama or Ukraine. To Trump, that speaks well for Putin and poorly for Obama.”

Like a child who thinks history began when he was born, Trump “ignores events prior to his election,” Saletan wrote, which does not explain his efforts to expose what he says was illegal spying on his campaign and that of other candidates in the 2016 election or his efforts to erase what he considers mistakes of past administrations.

But from Trump’s “solipsistic standpoint, there are no national commitments. All commitments are personal and dispensable. ‘President Obama was helping Ukraine,’ according to Trump, but that was Obama’s policy – not, in Trump’s view, an enduring promise by the United States. So Trump abandoned that commitment.”

This is untrue. “On no issue is the administration’s risky course more evident than its military policy toward Ukraine,” wrote Ted Galen Carpenter in the American Conservative in 2018. The U.S. military is training Ukrainian units, has performed joint exercises with them, which the Russians are particularly displeased about, and has increased sales of weapons and the lethality of the weapons it makes available to the Ukrainian military.

“For all of the loose (frequently hysterical) talk in Congress, the foreign policy community and the news media about President Trump’s eagerness to appease Vladimir Putin, U.S. policy remains as confrontational as ever toward Russia,” Carpenter wrote.

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