One ringy-dingy

People expect so much of Trump – he can’t even make a damn personal phone call without kibitzers turning up to list all the things he didn’t talk about.

President Trump on Tuesday congratulated President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia on his recent re-election victory, but failed to ask him about either the fairness of the Russian vote, which Mr. Putin won with a lopsided margin, or about allegations of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

Mr. Trump also did not raise Russia’s apparent role in a nerve agent attack on a former Russian spy and his daughter on British soil — an act that prompted the United States to join with Britain, France and Germany in denouncing the Russian government for violating international law.

Yeah, so? He wanted to talk to his friend Volodya, not interrogate a head of state about his crimes. Can’t a president talk to a friend?

“We had a very good call,” Mr. Trump told reporters in the Oval Office, where he was meeting with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia. “We will probably be meeting in the not-too distant future to discuss the arms race, which is getting out of control.”

If Putin wants to, that is. It’s up to him. Trump will do whatever Volodya asks. Meet? Cool. Not meet? Whatever you say, buddy.

The White House said Tuesday it was not the place of the United States to question how other countries conduct their elections — a contention that runs counter to years of critical statements by presidents and other officials about elections in Russia and many other countries.

“We don’t get to dictate how other countries operate,” the press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, said. “We can only focus on the freeness and fairness of our elections.”

Oh yes, Sarah Sanders, anti-imperialist activist, rejecting all that colonialist thinking about Great Powers telling Lesser Powers what to do.

Sen. John McCain, Republican of Arizona, who is chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, was quick to criticize Mr. Trump’s call to Mr. Putin.

“An American president does not lead the free world by congratulating dictators on winning sham elections,” Mr. McCain said in a statement issued by his office. “And by doing so with Vladimir Putin, President Trump insulted every Russian citizen who was denied the right to vote in a free and fair election to determine their country’s future, including the countless Russian patriots who have risked so much to protest and resist Putin’s regime.”

Well they’re not his friends. Vlad is his friend. They’re close.

In his remarks, Mr. Trump noted that Mr. Putin has expressed concern about the escalating arms race between the United States and Russia.

He noted that his administration was spending $700 billion to upgrade the American military, and said he would never allow Russia, or any other country, to approach its military might.

“We will never allow anybody to have anything even close to what we have,” Mr. Trump said.


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