28 June 2019   Leave a comment

US President Trump and Russian President Putin exchanged pleasantries at the G-20 meeting in Osaka, Japan, and the comments were revealing. Jen Kirby describes the first exchange in Vox:

“President Donald Trump joked with Russian President Vladimir Putin about meddling in the US elections.

After the two leaders met on the sidelines of the G20 summit on Friday, a reporter shouted a question at Trump about whether he’d warned Putin not to interfere in US democracy.

The US president replied, ‘Yes, of course I will.’ He then turned to Putin, with a slight smirk, and told him: ‘Don’t meddle in the election, President.’ He then pointed toward the Russian delegation and repeated, ‘Don’t meddle in the election.’”

The attempt at humor indicated that President Trump still does not believe that Russia interfered in the 2016 election even though his intelligence services and Special Counsel Mueller’s report proved widespread meddling. Given that there is evidence that Russia intends to intrude in the 2020 election, one can only conclude that President Trump does not take the threat seriously and that he does not care.

But the second exchange was more jaw-dropping. Both leaders joked about the problem of “fake” news in their respective countries.

“And in addition to his comedic riff about election meddling, Trump joked with Putin about the threat of ‘fake news.’

“Bloomberg News reported that Trump commiserated with Putin about journalists, telling him: ‘Get rid of them.’

“’Fake news is a great term, isn’t it? You don’t have this problem in Russia, but we do.’

“Putin laughed and replied that, yes, Russia does actually have that problem.

I find it incomprehensible that President Trump would miss the opportunity to compare freedom of the press with the leader of a country that has seen many journalists killed. Since 1992, when Putin begin his tenure as the leader of the country, 58 journalists have been killed. I am not sure President Trump knows anything about the country he leads, and I cannot shake the feeling that Putin has something on Trump that explains his indifference or complicity.

Posted June 28, 2019 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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