On Sunday, Donald Trump broke all records for international ignorance.
TRUMP: Well, look, you know, I have my own ideas. He's not going into Ukraine, OK? Just so you understand. He's not going to go into Ukraine, all right? You can mark it down and you can put it down, you can take it anywhere you want.
It’s enough to make you wish for Sarah Palin. At least she kept an eye on the neighbors.
Reminded that Putin was already in the Ukraine, Trump began a furious backpedal.
TRUMP: OK, well, he's there in a certain way, but I'm not there yet. You have Obama there. And frankly, that whole part of the world is a mess under Obama, with all the strength that you're talking about and all of the power of NATO and all of this, in the meantime, he's going where—he takes—takes Crimea, he's sort of—I mean …
In a certain way. The way that includes thousands of soldiers, tanks, and aircraft. That way. And when it comes to showing “strength” in the face of Putin, Trump’s idea of strength is ceding Crimea to Russia.
"I'm gonna take a look at it," Trump told ABC's This Week. "But you know, the people of Crimea, from what I've heard, would rather be with Russia than where they were. And you have to look at that, also."
If the Ukraine story wasn’t disturbing enough, recall that when the RNC was putting together its platform, the Trump campaign specifically intervened to weaken the position on Russia's invasion of the Ukraine.
It was the first and only time an amendment was tabled in this year’s foreign policy sub-committee. The two Trump staffers claimed to a delegate that they had to call and talk to “Mr. Trump”—perhaps name-dropping as obnoxious staffers, or perhaps Trump really was involved at the highest level with this particular amendment. The Trump staffers told the delegate that they had discussed Ukraine policy directly with Trump.
We’re left with the spectacle of a Trump who gives public interviews in which he seems unaware of Russia’s two-year-old invasion of the Ukraine, while at the same time offering justification for Russia’s capture of Crimea and working personally and deliberately to legitimize that invasion.
And, in what’s surely a total coincidence, Trump’s campaign manager, Paul Manafort, previously worked for the failed pro-Russian president of the Uktraine.
President Viktor F. Yanukovych, who owed his election to, as an American diplomat put it, an “extreme makeover” Mr. Manafort oversaw, bolted the country in the face of violent street protests. He found sanctuary in Russia and never returned, as his patron, President Vladimir V. Putin, proceeded to dismember Ukraine, annexing Crimea and fomenting a war in two other provinces that continues.
Trump has made a big deal about his ability to hire “the best people.” Well, here’s a great example. He hired Manafort, who has direct ties with pro-Russian forces in the Ukraine, and that hire was quickly followed by working to weaken the Republican party’s stance on the Russian invasion.
Trump is displaying what looks like an astounding, frightening degree of ignorance in his statements about the Ukraine. At the same time, he has expressed admiration for Putin, threatened NATO, offered up Crimea, and put a man with pro-Putin ties in charge of his campaign.
And, oh yeah, Russia is conveniently hacking into the American election and providing information in hopes of embarrassing Trump’s opponent.
That’s not just smoke. That’s a raging fire.
And in case you didn’t think Donald Trump could manage to fit this level of confusion into 140 characters. Hey, the man’s a Twitter expert! Of course he can.
No, Donnie, that’s not even close to what you said. Maybe it’s what Vlad said. Sometimes, it’s hard to tell the difference.