"Treason doth never prosper. What's the reason? Why if it prosper, none dare call it treason." That quote by Sir John Harington from the late 16th Century, is appropriate today as the Big Lie, doth prosper in the GOP, and as Trump again supports America’s enemy. Treason indeed. And the GOP sayeth not a word of condemnation.
Last Tuesday, as war appeared imminent between Russia and Ukraine, Trump again cozied up to Vladimir Putin. The rest of the Western world shuddered in horror at the prospect of war. But for his preparation for an unprovoked invasion of the southern neighbor, Trump pronounced Putin a “genius.” Thereby, Trump, once laughingly known as the leader of the free world, endorsed actions that were in clear contravention of international law. For Trump, having flouted laws his entire life, it was a natural reaction; never mind the thousands of lives that would be lost.
Speaking on the Clay Travis and Buck Sexton Show on 22 February, Trump stated, “I went in yesterday and there was a television screen, and I said, ‘This is genius.’ Putin declares a big portion of the Ukraine — of Ukraine — Putin declares it as independent. Oh, that’s wonderful.” Trump continued in that radio interview with, “He used the word ‘independent’ and ‘we’re gonna go out and we’re gonna go in and we’re gonna help keep peace.’ You gotta say that’s pretty savvy.”
Oblivious to potential casualties, he went on, “Putin declares a big portion of the Ukraine — of Ukraine — Putin declares it as independent. Oh, that’s wonderful. ‘I said, ‘How smart is that?’ And he’s gonna go in and be a peacekeeper. ... We could use that on our southern border. That’s the strongest peace force I’ve ever seen. There were more army tanks than I’ve ever seen. They’re gonna keep peace all right. No, but think of it. Here’s a guy who’s very savvy.”
If he was that naïve, then only Trump believed that Putin was sending “peacekeepers.” Notably, the former POTUS endorsed the illegal act by Vladimir Putin of unilaterally declaring the independence of two territories located inside the geographic boundaries of Ukraine. In recent weeks and months, the current administration had been diligently working to prevent an armed conflict in the area. Trump not only undermined the position of the United States, but clearly was betraying his country and giving aid and comfort to an enemy. That is the definition of treason. But he didn’t stop there.
(Note, Travis and Sexton claim the words are out of context. They are not and here is the published transcript)
The next evening, February 23rd during the invasion, Trump spoke at his dining room in Mar-a-Lago. Like many of his previous comments, he was clearly envious of the authoritarian position of Putin. He stated, “Putin’s smart, I mean, he’s taking over a country for two dollars worth of sanctions. I’d say that’s pretty smart. Taking over a country - really a vast, vast location and a great piece of land with a lot of people, and walking right in.” He continued his self-aggrandizement, assumed as if he was still POTUS, “It would never have happened, ever in a million years would never have happened.”
Nowhere in his comments is any concern for the welfare of the people of Ukraine, or noting that the announced annexation is a blatantly illegal act under international law. While Putin committed war crimes, Trump praised his ingenuity. Was there ever any doubt Trump and Putin are both amoral?
Talking on Fox News with Laura Ingraham on Wednesday, 23 February, Trump stated, “Putin was going to be satisfied with peace. He saw the gross incompetence and stupidity of this administration. As an American I am saddened and angry. It all happened because of a rigged election.” The naiveté, and lying in those comments is staggering. To think that tens of millions of people, including senior GOP officials, still believe him to be mentally competent is appalling.
In 1964 John Stormer published a popular book titled, None Dare Call It Treason. It sold very well during the campaign of archconservative Barry Goldwater who was soundly defeated by the Democratic candidate Lyndon Johnson. Stormer’s fundamental thesis was that liberal elites actually supported communism surreptitiously introducing it throughout the country. Regarding the title, this implied the treasonous acts were not being called out as they had gained substantial popularity. Stormer believed America was losing the Cold War because it was being betrayed by its elites, who were pro-communist. Now it is the former POTUS, and still nominal head of the GOP, himself delivering support to the former KGB agent. How the table has turned.
Trump is not alone in his admiration of Putin. Another prominent Republican, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who has recently called Putin “a very talented statesman,” “very shrewd,” “very capable,” and said, “I have enormous respect for him.”
Republicans remain oblivious to the substantial damage done by Trump as he undercut the NATO alliance. To President Biden’s credit, he was able to get the coalition to band together and present a united front to Putin.
To further damage America, when President Biden announced severe sanctions against Russia, the House Republicans issued a tweet saying, “This is what weakness on the world stage looks like.” It seems they would rather get America into another shooting war similar to the ones begun under George W. Bush. Remember invading Iraq under false pretenses of WMDs? Notably, even Petro Poroshenko, former president of Ukraine turned freedom fighter, specifically thanked President Biden for imposing the sanctions. That was amidst a battle in Kyiv.
With few exceptions, the GOP response to Trump’s treasonous commentary has been resounding silence. Some had stated their objections to the unwarranted invasion, but almost none, save Adam Kinzinger and Liz Cheney, have spoken out about Trump’s disloyalty.
Trump’s repeated acts betraying the country to whom he owes allegiance, can certainly be viewed as treasonous. Trump has always paid deference to Putin. The infamous press conference on 16 July 2018 in Helsinki, Finland is a perfect example. In front of the world, Trump backed Putin over the American Intelligence Community that had concluded that Russian operatives interfered with the 2016 election. "President Putin says it's not Russia. I don't see any reason why it would be," Trump stated.
Never since the Civil War has an American president acted so blatantly in support of the country’s adversary. And never since the Civil War has a primary party condoned such aberrant behavior, either by direct commentary or acquiescence through silence. We only heard from Mitt Romney on Sunday when he stated some members of the GOP were “near treasonous.” Near?
Continuing his reprehensible behavior, at CPAC Trump again lionized Putin and reiterated his Big Lie. His efforts, and those of many in the GOP, serve to undercut both the current administration and America’s position in their world standing. Repeatedly, through their public commentary, they have chosen, Party over country. Now they choose Putin over democracy. As indicated by the Lincoln Project, “The party of Reagan is now the party of Putin.”
Trump’s affinity for authoritarians is well documented and demonstrates his own proclivities. Supporting murderers, Trump claimed he saved Mohammed bin Salman’s ass after the dissecting of the Washington Post reporter, Jamal Khashoggi. Similarly, he has praise for other dictators including, Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines, Xi Jinping of China, Abel-Fattah el-Sissi of Egypt, Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, and especially his lover, Kim Jong Un, who is still launching missiles from North Korea.
During the past decade Trump has commented about Vladimir Putin over 80 times, and never negatively. He frequently noted what a strong leader Putin was (the definition of an authoritarian). Now Trump has given support for the illegal invasion of an ally. Despite his repeated support for America’s adversaries, none dare call it treason, at least no Republican wanting to be reelected.