Most Americans were outraged by Donald Trump's performance at his July 16 press conference with Vladimir Putin. Trump's collaboration with Russia is the latest evidence that he's determined to ruin the United States of America. Why don't congressional Republicans stand up to him? Do they hate America, too?
After 545 days in the White House, Trump is emboldened to say and do, and Tweet, whatever he feels like. There's no evidence that anyone can restrain him -- certainly not his daughter, Ivanka, or his beleaguered Chief-of-Staff, John Kelley.
There's a plethora of arm-chair psychoanalysts with opinions about why Trump behaves like he does. However, we've travelled miles beyond the point of trying to understand why Trump acts out; whether it's because he is crazy or a Russian collaborator or obsessed with becoming the anti-Obama. What's most important is that Trump endangers the United States of America.
If the American people are going to stop him, we're going to need the assistance of Republicans. Are they going to help us or are they going to pretend that Trump's behavior is okay? When will Republican members of Congress stand up to Trump?
Consider the critical issues and what the Republican response should be.
1.Russia is at war with the United States. During the October 22, 2012, presidential debate, Mitt Romney called Russia America's "biggest geopolitical threat." At the time, many observers scoffed, but it turns out that Romney was right. David Corn and Michael Isikoff's book, Russian Roulette, indicates that Russian Premier Vladimir Putin has declared cyberwar on the United States and its allies; the 2016 political campaign was the most evident manifestation of the new Kremlin offensive.
On July 13th, Trump's director of National Intelligence, Dan Coats (a Republican), said: "The persistent danger of Russian cyberattacks today was akin to the warnings the United States had of stepped-up terror threats ahead of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. 'The warning lights are blinking red again.'" (https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/13/us/politics/dan-coats-intelligence-russia-cyber-warning.html )
It's clear from his July16 Putin press conference that Trump does not believe Russia is waging cyberwar on the U.S. In the run up to the 2018 midterm, Republican candidates have to take a stand: either they believe Russia is at war with us, or they don't. Either they are willing to take steps to protect us, or they aren't.
2.Trump is undermining America's traditional alliances. At the same time that Trump is cozying up to Putin and Russia, he is weakening our relationships with our traditional allies. During his recent trip to Europe, Trump denigrated NATO -- our strongest military bulwark against Russia. He also belittled the European Union -- the United States' largest trading partner -- calling it "a foe."
While in Europe Trump insulted German Prime Minister Merkel -- Germany is our 5th largest trading partner -- and England's Prime Minister May -- England is our 7th largest trading partner. In May, during the meeting with the G7, he insulted Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau -- Canada is our second largest trading partner. (For the record, Russia is our 30th largest trading partner.)
Republican candidates either have to side with Trump -- America goes into the world alone -- or support our traditional allies -- America is part of a coalition opposing Russia. Republican candidates have to be asked if they support Trump's foreign policy.
3.Trump's trade war threatens the U.S. economy. Trump has verbally attacked our largest trading partners (European Union, China, Canada, Mexico...) and levied tariffs on their products. The resulting trade war is causing domestic job losses and raising prices.
By the way, Trump's trade war helps Russia. Because of Trump's actions, China (our second largest trading partner) has stopped buying U.S. soybeans and has tripled purchases from Russia. (https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-05-17/china-buys-record-amount-of-russian-soy-as-it-shuns-u-s-growers ) Incidentally, Trump's sanctions on Iran are also helping Russia sell oil. (https://www.cnbc.com/2018/05/09/trump-iran-sanctions-give-saudi-arabia-and-russia-more-clout.html )
Republican candidates should be asked: How are Trump's trade policies affecting your state/district and what do you plan to do about it?
4.Trump tax cuts have not revived the economy: Trump's massive tax cuts were supposed to raise wages. According to a recent Bloomberg article (click here), "The tax reform hasn't yet resulted in appreciably higher wages for American workers. Real average hourly compensation actually fell in the first quarter after the tax reform was passed." In addition, "[The] tepid rate of [GDP] growth means that the tax cut is unlikely to pay for itself."
Incidentally, the Republican tax plan dramatically raises the national debt. An April Reuters article (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-fiscal-deficit/republican-tax-cuts-to-fuel-historic-u-s-deficits-cbo-idUSKBN1HG2RW) reported a CBO finding, "The massive tax cuts signed into law in December, which Republicans said would pay for themselves, will balloon the U.S. deficit in years ahead."
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