The End of the Innocence

Just remember, it’s supposed to be OK when Republicans say this stuff:

President Trump, asked by an interviewer on Saturday why he respected President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia even though he is “a killer,” seemed to equate Mr. Putin’s actions with those of the United States.

“You got a lot of killers,” he told the interviewer, Bill O’Reilly of Fox News. “What, you think our country’s so innocent?”

Mr. Trump has long expressed his admiration for the Russian leader’s strength. But his willingness to seemingly draw a moral equivalence to actions by Mr. Putin, who has brutally suppressed dissent by eliminating political enemies, led to an eruption on social media.

Many asked how conservatives would have reacted had President Barack Obama, or other Democrats, compared American actions to Mr. Putin’s.

Right-wingers would have been ready to riot if “President Barack Obama, or other Democrats, compared American actions to Mr. Putin’s,” or suggested that American history is not without blemish. That right-wingers are shameless hypocrites is not news. However, it will be morbidly funny to see your pro-Trump acquaintances try to construct a rational argument in defense of Trump’s statement; they’ll make Sarah Palin sound like Neil deGrasse Tyson.

Remember the days when right-wingers would declare, “America–love it, or leave it”? Trump has indeed left America: he’s left this country scared, confused, embarrassed, heartbroken. He’s also left those who actually do love this country with a clear recognition that those who supported this man, and those who continue to defend this man, betrayed their fellow citizens by voting for him.

Speaking of voting:

In another excerpt from the Fox interview, Mr. Trump was asked whether it was irresponsible for him to say that three million illegal immigrants voted in the election while lacking the evidence to support that assertion.

“When you see illegals, people that are not citizens and they’re on the registration rolls,” he started to say before shifting. “Look, Bill, we can be babies, but you take a look at the registration, you have illegals, you have dead people, you have this — it’s really a bad situation, it’s really bad.”

Trump apparently sees more dead people than Haley Joel Osment did in The Sixth Sense. That Trump’s fanbase continues to defend this man speaks volumes about the extent to which a portion of this country lives in what former Vice President Al Gore once called an “air of unreality” (air that will become far dirtier once Scott Pruitt takes over at the Environmental Protection Agency, not that Trump’s cheerleaders know or care.) No matter what this man says or does, that fanbase–the folks who voted for him as a screw-you to progressives, nonwhites, academia and the mainstream media–will continue to worship at his cathedral.

“What, you think our country’s so innocent?” Trump asks. Well, the folks who voted for him are certainly guilty of giving this man permission to turn the White House into Animal House. If someone asked you if you could find it within your heart to forgive those who voted for this man, how would you respond?

D.R. Tucker

D. R. Tucker is a Massachusetts-based journalist who has served as the weekend contributor for the Washington Monthly since May 2014. He has also written for the Huffington Post, the Washington Spectator, the Metrowest Daily News, investigative journalist Brad Friedman's Brad Blog and environmental journalist Peter Sinclair's Climate Crocks.