A front-page story in the Washington Post informs us that, in 2013, Donald Trump wrote a note to Vladimir Putin inviting him to attend the Miss Universe pageant in Moscow. As the Post puts it, “Donald Trump was so eager to have Vladimir Putin attend the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow that he wrote a personal letter to the Russian president inviting him to the event, according to multiple people familiar with the document.” In a line it must relish, the Post adds “at the bottom of the typed letter, Trump scrawled a postscript adding that he looked forward to seeing ‘beautiful’ women during his trip.”
At one level, this is a non-story. Of course the sponsor of a major event in a foreign country wanted the high-profile leader of that country to attend.
But why did Trump hold his event in Moscow. The answer, according to the Post, is that he wanted to “expand his brand to Russia.”
There was nothing illegal in this. And given Trump’s lack of a moral compass, I’m confident he saw nothing wrong with expanding his brand to one of America’s main adversaries — a nation whose immoral conduct poses a threat to peace and world order.
Five years later, I see a measure of poetic justice in the fact that Trump’s desire to cozy up to Putin’s Russia has come back to bite him. However, the size of the bite exceeds the gravity of the offense, and it is America, not just Trump, that is suffering from it.