Fox News found a guest who didn’t just defend Donald Trump’s jaw-dropping public thanks to Vladimir Putin for slashing the U.S. embassy staff but presented it as ‘smart policy’ that ‘speaks well of the president.’
In case you missed it, Trump responded to Russia’s move, which was in retaliation for the U.S. imposing sanctions over its interference in our election by saying, “I’m very thankful…I greatly appreciate the fact that we’ve been able to cut our payroll.”
MSNBC’s Steve Benen nicely summed up the loathsomeness of Trump’s response:
[T]his is a dynamic in which the Putin government used harsh diplomatic measures to slap the United States in the face, and after two weeks of thought, the American president expressed his gratitude to the Russian government.
For those keeping score, when Russia disagreed with U.S. intelligence agencies, Trump sided with Putin. When Russia disagreed with the U.S. Congress, Trump sided with Putin. And when Russia moved against U.S. diplomats, Trump thanked Putin.
I think we can all guess how Fox would have responded if President Obama had thanked a country for retaliating against sanctions. But for Trump, Fox presented it as a he said/she said.
On Fox’s Happening Now show, host Jon Scott opened a discussion on the topic by downplaying the widespread revulsion that followed Trump’s remarks, especially at the State Department. “It seems some at the State Department do not share the president’s opinion,” Scott said mildly.
Guest David Tafuri immediately pointed out the context of Russia’s behavior, which Scott conveniently omitted. “Trump is the only one that can’t seem to find any criticism about Russia or Putin,” Tafuri added.
But conservative guest Rebecca Heinrichs wins the “Loving Trump The Way He Loves Putin” award for the year. In fact, her comments were almost as jaw-dropping as Trump’s.
HEINRICHS: You know, the way I see it is the president’s response just took the wind out of the sails of Vladimir Putin. In the past, every time, you know, Putin would do something against the United States, there would be this sternly worded statement saying that we object to it or we didn’t like it. But it didn’t really have an effect other than to be gratifying to Moscow. But here we have the president saying, “You know what? Fine.” It looked to me like he was being tongue-in-cheek. But he just wasn’t giving that to Russia…
And then the second point is that it also has the effect of something the president likes to do, which is sort of poking at the people who think that there’s this narrative to be had about the president collaborating with or colluding with the Russians which I think is just silly at this point.
[…] The president’s just not going to go tit for tat with the Russians and I think that’s good.
It’s one thing “not to go tit for tat” and quite another to publicly thank Russia for punishing the U.S.
Scott displayed a Tweet from Michael McFaul, the former ambassador to Russia, saying that Trump’s praise for cutting 755 people from the U.S. embassy in Russia “shows that he doesn’t understand diplomacy.” In another Tweet displayed, McFaul wrote, “Imagine wanting to know less about Russia’s military modernization! That’s what Trump praised today.”
But Heinrichs was undeterred in her effusive praise.
HEINRICHS: We’ve got a lot of crises going along across the planet. He can’t have hot spots everywhere in terms of the rhetoric he gives back. We’re dealing with North Korea right now. If we can defuse the situation with Russia, if he can just sort of laugh this off and move on while these sanctions are still tough and in place, I think that that is a smart policy and I like that the president isn’t sticking with these approved talking points like every other president has in the past. He’s just responding the way that he thinks is best and I think that also speaks well of the president.
Scott asked Tafuri, “Is there perhaps some value in that approach?”
Tafuri shot back.
TAFUTI: [Heinrichs] seems able to spin any comment by President Trump, no matter how abhorrent, as being OK. It’s not OK. … This hurts our ability to monitor Russia, to monitor an adversary that’s doing things that are provocative towards the U.S. and are hurting U.S. interests and President Trump … needs to step up and push back against Russia. He seems utterly incapable of doing that. This is not a joke. … And you can’t spin that as a positive in any way.
Putting aside the import or impact of Trump’s behavior on the international scene, his comments add to the already-damning impression that Trump is behaving like someone guilty of collusion with Russia.
Not surprisingly, that never came up in this discussion.
Watch Heinrichs slobber over what she’d almost certainly have characterized as treason from President Obama above, from the August 11, 2017 Happening Now.
Crossposted at News Hounds.
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