I know I will be condemned and cast into the sycophantic Trump supporter pit of hellfire for my remarks here, however, let me ask those very fervent Trump supporters a simple question: if it was Barack Obama, what would you be saying?
And, for those rabid progressive socialists with their hyperbolic statements, like former CIA Director John Brennan talking about treason: why did y’all not say anything when Barack Obama abandoned Americans to die in Benghazi? And please, do not let me bring up the ol’ flexibility after reelection comment by Obama.
My point is this: we all need to calm down from the over-the-top reactions, and use our reason to analyze what happened in Helsinki, Finland. I am not going to use language such as “disgusting,” “lame,” “disgraceful,” “treasonous,” or anything else that is overtly partisan. But, none of us should disagree with the use of the words “disappointing moment” and “missed opportunity.” because that is what we witnessed.
We have been starving, and waiting, all for that brave moment when an American president would stand side by side with Vladimir Putin, and end his era of global bullying. Earlier today I wrote about what I hoped this summit between Presidents Trump and Putin would focus upon. I sorely wanted President Trump to show Putin the same moxie as he did with our NATO allies.
Yes, I was disappointed.
Some of you may say that I do not know what was said in the closed-door, one-on-one meeting with Putin, where there were no notes taken. You are right, I do not. But what has now defined that closed-door meeting is the joint press conference. This is often a theater of optics, and we need to never forget that . . . and yes, words do matter.What has now defined that closed-door meeting is the joint press conference. This is often a theater of optics, and we need to never forget that . . . and yes, words do matter. Click To Tweet
Yes, I know of, and rightfully stated earlier today, President Trump’s efforts, actions, sanctions, and expulsions that have been levied against Russia. However, on Monday, there was the opportunity, on a global stage, to evidence exactly who Putin is and President Trump’s angst about his expansionist activities and abuses. When the AP reporter asked President Trump about the Russian “meddling” into our 2016 election that was the moment, the opportunity, for President Trump to show himself as the Defender of the American Democracy, a Guardian of our Republic. Sadly, it devolved into a diatribe about himself and a personal response as he once again perceived his legitimacy as President being challenged, that was not the case.
What President Trump should have done was reach into his inner jacket breast pocket, and pull out a single piece of paper. That piece of paper would have had a list of names on it — the list of those Russians indicted in the interference into our 2016 election. At that very moment, President Trump could have read off each name, and their position within the Russian government, and asked President Putin a simple question: “do you know these individuals?”
President Trump, in that moment, would have affirmed his commitment to our intelligence agencies, and his defense of our democracy. Putin would have been forced, on a global stage, to admit, or deny his knowledge of these individuals, and their actions. President Trump could then have attacked President Putin as either being a liar, or being incompetent — not knowing what was happening in his own intelligence agency. Trump could have said, “I know what is happening in ours.”
President Trump could have listed several of the most egregious actions taken by Putin over the last few years. Yes, these things would have happened prior to President Trump’s oath of office, but that is not the issue. It was an opportunity to lay down a marker: these actions MUST end . . . and here’s why.
This was a time for President Trump to send a message that he may want to have a brighter future, and a positive relationship, but he will not be naïve. There are those who say you do not go into such a summit to embarrass, or confront. I say you do not sit with the devil and offer him something cool to drink.There are those who say you do not go into such a summit to embarrass, or confront. I say you do not sit with the devil and offer him something cool to drink. Click To Tweet
Vladimir Putin is a former KGB agent, a senior officer, who cannot, be trusted, and has proven so. The recent 12 indictments named by Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein were a gift to President Trump heading into this summit meeting. Putin should have been forced to own the meddling into our election issue.
I have heard some folks who have said we need to tread lightly with Russia in order to garner their assistance. That, my friends, is a position of weakness, and acquiescence. There are no circumstances where we need Russian help. That message should have been conveyed to Putin. We own a high ground, and we must seize the moment, and act as such.
Now, here is the real question: can President Trump recover from this faux pas? Yes, I do believe that he can.
One of the things I always counseled young officers to do when something goes wrong was own up to it. When the Commanding Officer comes down you tell him exactly what went wrong, and how you are going to rectify the situation. In other words, stop digging the hole. I would recommend to President Trump that he come clean, and admit to the American people — and the world — that he got the response wrong. Do not use any excuse about being tired or whatever. Just say, “I should have stood up for our nation against this brutal dictator and I did not. But, I will tell the American people, that will not happen again.” Tell us, the American people, what specific actions, sanctions, will be implemented if Vladimir Putin, and Russia endeavor to interfere in our democratic process again.
Leaders ain’t perfect, and there are good lessons, and bad lessons, but they are lessons from which someone can learn. Yes, we are all perplexed. I know that I am. But, just like a QB who throws an interception that leads to the opposing team scoring a touchdown, we can sit up there, and boo incessantly, with the team abandoning the QB, or we can encourage them to “cowboy up,” and get back out there, and win the game.
President Trump, yep, you blew this one, there is no debate about it. But, you can recover. Shake this one off, and get back out there, and lead Team America to victory. None of us, Mr. President, knows what transpired behind those closed doors. We only witnessed what was said, and what happened in the joint press conference. Own this, stop allowing your personal ego to reign supreme over the interests of our Republic, endure the criticisms, but stay focused on that which is most important: Making America Great Again.
Photo credit: Kremlin.ru
During his 22 year career in the United States Army, Lieutenant Colonel West served in several combat zones and received many honors including a Bronze Star, three Meritorious Service Medals, three Army Commendation Medals, one with Valor device, and a Valorous Unit Award.
In November of 2010, Allen was elected to the United States Congress, representing Florida’s 22nd District.
He is a Fox News Contributor, Director of the Booker T. Washington Initiative at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, Senior Fellow at the Media Research Center, contributing columnist for Townhall.com, and author of Guardian of the Republic: An American Ronin’s Journey to Family, Faith and Freedom. His forthcoming book, Hold Texas, Hold the Nation: Victory or Death, is due fall 2018 from Brown Books Publishing Group.