Trump prioritized whining about the New York Times over responding to serious national security threats.
During his state of the nation address on Wednesday, Russian dictator Vladimir Putin threatened to aim new missiles at the United States — but Trump was too busy whining about the New York Times to bother responding to the threat.
Putin said that Moscow will target the United States with new hypersonic missiles if Trump chooses to deploy new intermediate-range nuclear missiles in Europe, which wouldn't be prohibited now that Trump has scrapped a Reagan-era nuclear arms treaty.
In early February, the Trump administration announced the United States would withdraw from the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. National security experts denounced the move as dangerous and warned that it could lead to a new nuclear arms race.
Putin used his national address to threaten exactly what experts predicted. In addition to threatening America's European allies, Putin bragged about the new weapons which could directly target the U.S. He described missiles that could travel at eight times the speed of sound, had a range of more than 600 miles, and could be deployed on ships and submarines.
The New York Times described Putin's words as "some of his most explicit threats ever."
On Wednesday morning, Trump blasted what he called the "true enemy of the people" on Twitter.
But Trump wasn't talking about a hostile country threatening to aim missiles at America's cities and towns. He was talking about the New York Times.
"The New York Times reporting is false. They are a true ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE!" Trump raged. It was his third tweet of the morning attacking America's free press — yet he couldn't muster the time or energy to push back against Putin.
Trump was likely irked by a recent Times investigation describing his efforts over the past two years to obstruct justice in the Russia investigation. The investigation includes some previously unreported episodes about Trump using a wide array of tactics to undermine any attempt to look into his entanglements with Russia.
New York Times Publisher A.G. Sulzberger called Trump's attacks not just false, but dangerous. Describing the press as the "enemy of the people" has "an ugly history of being wielded by dictators and tyrants who sought to control public information," he said, and Trump's reckless attacks may be "encouraging threats and violence against journalists" both in the United States and around the globe.
Trump has always been more interested in attacking America's free press than criticizing Putin. His subservient attitude toward Putin is so worrying that former acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe thought it was possible Trump was working for Russia.
And even when Russia threatens to aim missiles at American cities, Trump can't be bothered to stand up for the country he's supposed to be leading.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.