Trump’s treasonous troubles

Donald Trump on the campaign trail in March of this year.

Donald Trump on the campaign trail in March of this year.

Donald Trump is not having a good week. Trump managed to cast himself as both unpatriotic and treasonous within the space of a few days. First, Trump invited Russia to commit cyber espionage against the U.S. in order to influence the upcoming presidential election in Trump’s favor, which many have called possibly treasonous or at least a violation of the Logan Act. Then Trump attacked the Gold Star family of Captain Humayun Khan, a U.S. soldier of Muslim faith who was killed in Iraq in 2004 while protecting his troops. Not surprisingly, Hillary Clinton‘s lead against Donald Trump is now growing.

Even plenty of Republicans are turning against Trump. On the Khan imbroglio, Trump attacked not only Capt. Khan’s father who spoke at the Democratic National Convention, but also Khan’s mother Ghazala who did not speak at the convention. In reply, U.S. Senator John McCain, one of America’s most famous prisoners of war who is widely respected for his military service, said of Khan’s parents:

you are certainly right; your son was the best of America, and the memory of his sacrifice will make us a better nation — and he will never be forgotten.

Likewise, Republican U.S. Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona said that he was “completely flummoxed” by Trump’s comments, and so would be “most Americans.” Additionally, Republican U.S. Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri criticized Trump, saying via a written statement:
My advice to Donald Trump has been and will continue to be to focus on jobs and national security and stop responding to every criticism whether it’s from a grieving family or Hillary Clinton.
While the Khan story is currently getting more press, the Russia cyber espionage story is just as or even more serious. First, as mentioned above, Trump’s call for Russia to meddle in U.S. affairs could be illegal. Indeed, Republican U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan, the highest-ranking Republican in the country, said via an email from his spokesman that:
Russia is a global menace led by a devious thug. Putin should stay out of this election.
Second, Trump again displayed a serious ignorance of foreign affairs when he told George Stephanopoulos on ABC‘s “This Week” on Sunday (in the very same interview in which he attacked the Khan family) that Russian President Vladimir Putin:
is not going into Ukraine, OK, just so you understand. He’s not going into Ukraine, all right? You can mark it down. You can put it down. You can take it anywhere you want.
As Stephanopoulos immediately pointed out, however, “he’s already there, isn’t he?” referring to the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea, which Putin took by force from Ukraine in 2014. Indeed, Trump praised Putin in 2014 for invading Ukraine.
Third, it has been reported that Trump’s companies have received a lot of investments from Russia, and that Trump has at least scouted Russia as a place to put up buildings and make investments. In one case, Trump purchased a mansion in Palm Beach, Florida for $40 million in 2004, in the middle of the high-priced housing bubble, and sold it to a front group for a Russian billionaire in 2008 for $95 million, even though the housing market had crashed a year earlier. Meanwhile, Trump refuses to release his taxes, as Democratic and Republican presidential nominees have done for decades. Now Trump’s tax returns take on extra meaning, as they could shed light on possible improper financial dealings with Russia.

If this weren’t enough, Trump is also playing chicken about debating Hillary Clinton this fall. Starting last Friday, Trump began using a phony excuse about NFL football games conflicting with the debates, and saying that Clinton is behind such scheduling. In fact, however, the dates were set long ago by the bipartisan Commission on Presidential Debates. Indeed, when Trump said he received a letter from the NFL calling the debate schedule “ridiculous,” the NFL’s spokesman said that the NFL sent no such letter.

The fallout from Trump’s statements and actions, as well as the Republicans’ doom and gloom convention two weeks ago versus the Democrats’ patriotic, optimistic convention last week, has been swift: Trump’s initial modest convention bounce has been erased, while Clinton has earned a significant convention bounce and a solid lead in the polls. Likewise, a new Gallup poll finds that voters say they are less likely to vote for Donald Trump after the Republican convention.

For months, people have joked that maybe Donald Trump ran for president in order to help Hillary Clinton’s chances. Now some may start wondering whether that wasn’t a joke at all.

Photo by michaeldg1, used under Creative Commons license.

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