When Jake Tapper interviewed him, Senate leader McConnell undermined the legitimacy of Donald Trump’s election.
On CNN, yesterday, Mitch McConnell undermined Trump rather than choosing to defend him.
From The Wall Street Journal:
Mr. Trump faced criticism from Democrats and some in his own party for suggesting in an interview to be aired Sunday on Fox News that Russia under President Vladimir Putin wasn’t that bad compared with the United States. When his questioner, Fox News host Bill O’Reilly, interjected that Mr. Putin was “a killer,’’ Mr. Trump responded: “We have a lot of killers… You think our country is so innocent?”
Mr. McConnell on CNN said he didn’t want to “critique the president’s every utterance,’’ but offered a very different take on Russia and Mr. Putin: “He’s a thug. He was not elected in a way that most people would consider a credible election … I don’t think there’s any equivalency between the way the Russians conduct themselves and the way the United States does.’’
Mr. McConnell also poured cold water on the pledge by Mr. Trump to launch a national investigation of voter fraud. The president has claimed, without evidence, that millions of people voted fraudulently in the presidential election.
If there’s going to be a probe of possible voter fraud, Mr. McConnell said, that should be handled by the states. “I don’t think we ought to spend any federal money investigating that,’’ he said. “We ought to leave that at the state level.’’
Obviously, Donald Trump is often controversial and I don’t blame McConnell for wanting to make clear he is his own man (I’d feel better about it if I thought he really was his own man and not simply serving the establishment rather than Republican voters). But joining in the demonization of Vladimir Putin and Russia rather than encouraging sober realism about the world was irresponsible.
And giving support to the idea that Russia interfered in our election was inexcusable!
Whether Vladimir Putin is a thug or not is the concern of Russians, not the American people who are tired of foreign wars and want the U.S. economy to be our government’s priority. A nation that spends less than $100 billion a year on its military budget is not a threat to us. Notice that McConnell doesn’t mention our covert and overt work in Ukraine to flip it against Russia. He just recites neo-Cold-War propaganda. He portrays Russia as the aggressor and wants us to forget the actions of our State Department.
And in the middle of his recital he gives CNN viewers more excuse to deny Donald Trump’s legitimacy.
At the 24-second mark McConnell claims that Russia “messed around in our elections.” This has been alleged for months and there is still no evidence that Russia was behind the emails released by Wikileaks. Nor is it obvious that Republicans should claim that releasing information counts as interference.
Notice that, when it comes to Trump’s allegations of voter fraud, then and only then does McConnell pretend to care about evidence.
McConnell is basically saying that we can trust Democrat-run states like California and New York to police themselves—even though he admits that “some” voter fraud takes place. That makes no sense. The outcome of elections could be decided by voter fraud in a singled state. McConnell undermined Trump but demanded that we trust some of the most Trump-hating jurisdictions in the country!