In a different time and under a different president, news like that released by The New York Times on Friday would have landed like a bomb. News media would have been flooded with the story and political figures would have been peppered with calls for a response, and even a condemnation. In this time under Trump, it was just a bad end to a very bad week.
In that bombshell article from The New York Times, it was revealed that:
‘American intelligence officials have concluded that a Russian military intelligence unit secretly offered bounties to Taliban-linked militants for killing coalition forces in Afghanistan — including targeting American troops — amid the peace talks to end the long-running war there, according to officials briefed on the matter…The intelligence finding was briefed to President Trump, and the White House’s National Security Council discussed the problem at an interagency meeting in late March, the officials said.’
The White House denied reports that President Trump had been briefed by intelligence officials about, but had done nothing to respond to, an effort by Russian President Putin to put bounties on U.S. and allied troops in Afghanistan https://t.co/QJoPDxKOup
— Bloomberg (@business) June 27, 2020
Trump’s questionable relationship with Vladimir Putin has never hurt the president more than it does with the news of a bounty on American soldiers’ heads. The leader of a party who claims to be great allies of American soldiers has long praised the Russian president and sought to appease him, once insisting that Russia should be allowed to rejoin the G7 despite their actions in Crimea.
The Lincoln Project took note of the story and released a new hard-hitting political ad on Saturday.
‘In the last year, flag-draped coffins have returned from Afghanistan. Now we know Vladimir Putin pays a bounty for the murder of American soldiers.
‘Donald Trump knows too — and does nothing. Putin pays the Taliban cash to slaughter our men and women in uniform and Trump is silent.’
So let me get this straight: Trump decried governors for locking down their states to prevent the spread of a deadly virus, but he’s silent on Vladimir Putin putting a bounty on American troops?
— Robert Reich (@RBReich) June 27, 2020
In one part of the video that is sure to make Trump squirm, the narrator refers to the president as “silent, weak, controlled” while video of Trump shaking Putin’s hand and standing side by side during the briefing where he took Putin’s word over that of his own intelligence community on election interference in 2016 plays in the background. News like this under a President Obama would have had Republicans screaming; none have offered comments on this news under President Trump.
Joe Biden said Trump’s ‘presidency has been a gift to Putin’ following a report that U.S. intelligence concluded that the Russian military offered bounties to Taliban-linked militants in Afghanistan to kill American troops and other coalition forces https://t.co/izhdSrvDCM pic.twitter.com/4KodjDN4Cy
— Reuters (@Reuters) June 28, 2020
The ad ends by asking who Trump really stands for, saying “when Trump tells you he stands by the troops, he’s right. Just not our troops.” If cozying up to the man who placed bounties on the heads of American troops doesn’t rattle Republicans, there isn’t one left with any morals left to stand on.
See the new ad from The Lincoln Project below:
Featured image screenshot via YouTube