The best way to spot a snitch on social media these days is to find someone who calls themselves a “patriot.” The best way to identify someone who wants to destroy America is to look for a biography or a handle (or even a hat) that says he wants to “Make America Great Again.”
It’s easier to spot our enemies than ever before. Sure, some fascists of the past once wore brown shirts or swastikas. And those who did Moscow’s work wore red stars or bandanas. But for most of the past century, when these enemies sent their agents into the United States to undermine our nation, they were undercover.
But now they identify themselves openly. They proudly announce it. They just come to you and tell you. They call themselves Republicans.
This was illustrated this weekend, when Donald Trump made it crystal clear – once again – that not only does he not support the international order that so many of our forefathers fought to create and defend, but that he would also welcome it as one of America’s meanest enemies attacked our closest friends and allies in Europe. In fact, he said he would “encourage” it.
He also said that as far as he was concerned, Russia could do “whatever they wanted.” Quite a statement considering their recent history of war crimes in Ukraine and elsewhere.
Trump framed his comments – which the White House rightly called “terrible and unhinged” – in the context of a statement attacking NATO members who had not fully fulfilled their financial commitments to the alliance. In doing so, he once again demonstrated a stunning ignorance of how NATO works and why it exists.
NATO members have committed to contributing 2 percent of GDP to our collective defense. But they don’t pay dues. NATO is not a protection racket in which the US plays the role of the gangsters who run the organization.
In fact (and here is Trump’s biggest misunderstanding) NATO plays a crucial role in defending US national security and interests. After September 11, its members joined forces to fight alongside us. They have been our essential partners, and most of them have contributed far more to Ukraine aid than we have – as a percentage of their GDP.
But Trump’s feigned concern about NATO contributions has little to do with the most shocking elements of his position: his contempt for our allies and his support for our enemies.
During his term as president, Trump made it clear to his inner circle that he intended to abandon NATO – by far the most important US alliance – entirely. In fact, those same aides believe this is one of his goals if he is re-elected in November.
He is, of course, known for his close ties to Moscow – although an invitation to Moscow to attack Europe is far more dangerous than his previous flirtations with Russia, such as his infamous 2016 call for Russia to help him through Hillary’s emails Clinton to be released. .
Trump invited Russians into the Oval Office early in his presidency and passed them classified information. He famously sided with Vladimir Putin against the U.S. intelligence community during a press conference in Helsinki, where he grilled the Russian leader.
More recently, the MAGA Republican Party has demonstrated that undermining our security (and that of our allies) while advancing Russian interests is now a core tenet of its politics.
An example is MAGA propagandist Tucker Carlson going to Moscow to gently stroke Putin’s ego while promoting his interests to an American audience. Another is Chairman Mike Johnson’s attempt to block further US aid to Ukraine. While some Republican senators have bucked this trend, it is unclear whether their efforts can survive the MAGA backlash in the House of Representatives.
More than four months of delays in US aid to Kiev have already caused material damage to both Ukraine’s defense efforts – which are, after all, an extension of ours – and to the belief of our friends worldwide that the US can play an important role keep playing. reliable ally despite MAGA resistance.
But what is most shocking about Trump’s statements is the fact that tens of millions of Americans are willing to blindly (or worse, knowingly) support them.
The vast majority of zombie GOP leaders do not condemn it and therefore legitimize and support it, whether intentionally or not. Members of the press work daily (intentionally or unintentionally) to normalize a position that is clearly treasonous, often by framing it as part of a “partisan argument.” They also make this possible by subordinating Trump’s outrageous words, as many did this weekend, to other, much less important political issues — such as that of President Joe Biden’s age, which is about the same as Mr. Trump’s .
There’s a pattern to it. Trump and his MAGA minions are doing shocking things – things that pose a major threat to our society – and a combination of spineless GOP leadership, irresponsible media reporting and the loyalty of millions of Americans who support the MAGA GOP movement are acting quickly to normalize and accept. It.
We saw the same pattern around positions and actions that resembled those of past enemies rather than anything resembling responsible citizenship. The litany is now long and well known.
An attempted coup. The theft of national secrets. Serial obstruction of justice. Attempts to place one man, Trump, above the law. Corruption on an unprecedented scale. Plans to throw opponents in prison or concentration camps. Ending democracy. Promoting racism, xenophobia, and other deeply divisive forces in American life.
If our historic enemies—from the Nazis to the Kremlin residents—were to sit down and list the sources of American strength they wanted to destroy—national and international, social, economic, political, and military—their list of targets would be perfectly match the Trump-MAGA agenda.
That’s why — as insane and disqualifying as Trump’s latest tirade should be, as much as he should be the target of relentless public opprobrium — the real problem is not the leader, but the movement.
The greatest threat America faces today comes from tens of millions of our own neighbors, friends and family members who are willing to see our country’s future in grave danger because of ignorance, anger and greed.
In other words, as outrageous as Trump’s comments were last weekend, the most shocking thing about them is that they have not and will not result in his immediate rejection by members of his party. And that’s why the goal in November must be not just to defeat Trump, but also to decisively defeat — and thereby begin to destroy — the entire MAGA GOP movement.