Today’s phony Trump controversy pertains to the president’s reaction to Russia’s expulsion of U.S. diplomatic personnel in response to congressional sanctions (which Trump did not favor). Trump stated:
I want to thank [Putin] because we’re trying to cut down our payroll, and as far as I’m concerned, I’m very thankful that he let go of a large number of people because now we have a smaller payroll. There’s no real reason for them to go back. I greatly appreciate the fact that we’ve been able to cut our payroll of the United States. We’re going to save a lot of money.
Anyone who has been paying attention during the last two years knows that this is Trump being a smart ass. Indeed, we know he didn’t want our diplomatic presence in Russia slashed because (1) he could have cut it himself but didn’t and (2) following his election, he expressed satisfaction when Putin decided not to retaliate for Obama’s expulsion of Russian diplomats and seizure of property.
Yet, the liberal media is tut-tutting Trump for thanking Putin. For example, this article in Vox is called “Trump just thanked Putin for slashing America’s diplomatic presence in Russia.” The nitwit who wrote the article sniffs that Trump has “rolled over” in response to Russia’s move, “literally thanking the Russian president for expelling American diplomatic staff and dramatically cutting the US’s diplomatic presence in Russia — on the grounds that it supposedly would cut down the United States’ payroll.”
I suppose Trump “literally” did that. But no intelligent person takes snark or sarcasm literally.
The author also incorrectly assumes that Trump will “roll over” rather than retaliate. Nothing in the president’s statement ruled out retaliation. Even if Trump thought Putin’s move inadvertently helped the U.S. — and it’s clear enough that he doesn’t think this — Trump might still retaliate because Putin did not intend to do us any favors.
Today, Trump said that the U.S. is considering its response to Russia and will have one by September 1, the deadline Russia imposed for removing U.S. personnel. For the benefit of any morons out there, he also explained that his earlier remarks were sarcasm.
How big of a deal is the expulsion of the 755 employees? Vox wants us to think it’s huge. However, it undercuts that case by calling it, per the New York Times, the “harshest such diplomatic move since a similar rupture in 1986, in the waning days of the Soviet Union.” We came through that okay.
If the expulsions are a big deal, don’t blame Trump — blame Congress. It imposed the sanctions.
I’m glad it did and I’m not alarmed by Russia’s response. Because that response was altogether predictable, Democrats and their friends in the media shouldn’t moan about it. Nor should they expect Trump to eschew a jaunty initial response.