Nothing that Trump says has anything to do with the truth, only with power − his own.
Without a doubt, Philip Roth’s novel “The Plot Against America” has come true with Donald Trump. The president is an enemy agent − of Adolf Hitler in the fantasy novel, but of Vladimir Putin in real life. The last and definitive clue came from the man himself in the press conference following the meeting with the Russian president in Helsinki. Trump showed himself to be servile and submissive to his counterpart in admitting equal responsibility for the frosty relations between the two powers and, above all, by giving credibility to the word of the Russian president at the expense of the American intelligence services, with respect to the proven interference in the presidential election.
His improvised clarification, aimed at pacifying indignant Republicans in the face of the deterioration of the United States’ image and Putin’s victory, does not matter. The 18 months of Trump’s presidency represent the greatest geopolitical disaster that Washington has suffered, at least since the Iraq War. Trump has alienated allies, undermined and divided institutions 70 years in the making, and has provided Moscow with every imaginable advantage.
Little to nothing is known about the summit, but it is likely that its content was lacking in a worrisome way, especially for two powers who are locked into contentious confrontations. The lack of substance doesn’t hide the summit’s value as a showcase for Putin’s prestige and Trump’s vanity. However, few expected that it would be Trump’s subsequent remarks, and abrupt and slapdash denial of them, that would make history.
Never before has there been a press conference so shameful for the image of the United States, with such an explicit imbalance of attitudes and authority between both leaders. The shameful spectacle is also a disaster for its protagonist: It gives yet more fuel to Special Counsel Robert Mueller, the man charged with investigating Russian interference, who has already indicted 32 people, 25 of them Russian, has obtained guilty pleas from three of the president’s associates and who will not hesitate to judicially choke the president if he gets the chance.
Nothing that Trump says has anything to do with the truth. It is only related to power − his own. He regularly intimidates and weakens partners, as he has done with Theresa May and Angela Merkel, or more discreetly as he did with a representative of the Spanish government, indulging in inconsiderate and unfavorable assessments of the crisis in Catalonia.
Trump has now been labeled a traitor back home. After the catastrophe of his week in Europe, with dismissals and insults to governments and institutions left, right and center, there is no doubt that he has also betrayed the values and interests shared between the U.S. and the European members of NATO and the EU over the last 70 years.
Booting out the Russian agent is urgent.