Donald Trump's refusal to ever condemn Russia — for murdering journalists, for hacking the presidential election, or for anything else — has become increasingly embarrassing and shameful.
Donald Trump absolutely will not condemn Russia or the actions of its president, Vladimir Putin.
While Trump never hesitates to attack those he perceives as his enemies — the media, Republican senators, Gold Star families, POWs — he has never offered a harsh word on Russia, even when specifically asked to do so.
During his joint press conference with Finnish President Sauli Niinistö, Trump was again offered the opportunity to criticize Russia and again refused to do so.
REPORTER: So, my question to you, Mr. President, would be: Mr. Trump, would you consider Russia as a security threat? Thank you.
TRUMP: Well, I consider many countries as a security threat, unfortunately, when you look at what’s going on in the world today. As you know, a few weeks ago, our great vice president, Mike Pence, who is right here, was in the region and spent quite a bit of time there. We consider that a very, very important part of the world. We have great relationships there. We have a great relationship with Finland. So I would consider many countries threats, but these are all threats that we’ll be able to handle if we have to. Hopefully we won’t have to handle them, but if we do, we will handle them.
This should be an easy question for Trump to answer. Yes, Russia is a security thread. In 2016, Russia hacked into the voting systems and software of 39 states to try to influence voter information. As former CIA Director John Brennan testified to the House Intelligence Committee in May, there is no question that Russia tried to influence the election to install Trump in the White House.
"The fact that the Russians tried to influence that election so that the will of the American people was not going to be realized by that election, I find outrageous and something that we need to, with every last ounce of devotion to this country, resist," he said at the time.
Russia also has placed 150 spies within the United States, having increased its intelligence efforts since Trump's election. Current and former intelligence officials said it’s likely because Russia feels “emboldened” by its success during our election. Russia is actively engaged in trying to further infiltrate and influence our intelligence and specifically our elections.
Russian officials have even hinted at the country's ability to blackmail the president of the United States if its demands are not met unconditionally.
Yes, Russia is a security threat. That's something the president of the United States should be able to say without hesitation. But Trump has long praised Putin, in part, it seems from newly revealed emails, in order to achieve his long desired real estate deal in Moscow.
Given Russia's eagerness to help Trump win the White House — and the Trump team's apparent eagerness and gratitude for Russia's help — it is unlikely Trump will ever criticize the nation that is so hostile to America.
America faces security threats from "many countries," according to Trump. But he simply will not count Russia among them.