Yesterday Donald Trump called up Vladimir Putin — a strongman who was recently caught deploying nerve gas to kill dissidents on the soil of America's oldest ally — to heartily congratulate him for winning a sham election. Trump made the call despite the fact that his own aides told him not to and even typed in all caps on his morning briefing "DO NOT CONGRATULATE" regarding an item about Putin's victory.
It was a particularly awful decision because the vituperative infant in the White House is locked in a tightening probe over whether Putin illegally helped Trump win the presidency and/or has leverage thanks to pee recordings or evidence of corrupt business deals. Trump should not have dialed Putin. This was a very bad call!
So it's understandable that Florida's own U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio is upset this morning, railing on Twitter against, uh, whoever it was who told the free world that Trump had made this horrible choice.
I don’t agree with congratulating #Putin but bigger outrage is this leak that could only come from someone in @POTUS inner circle. If you don’t like President resign, but this ongoing pattern of duplicity holds potential for serious damage to the nation https://t.co/DHwXp63SYx— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) March 21, 2018
So, according to Marco, it's mildly disagreeable that the leader of the free world defied his own national security advisers to make a friendly call to a murderous leader who just used deadly nerve agents on foreign soil for the first time in decades.
The fact that Trump has refused to condemn that attack merits no mention from Rubio. Neither does Trump's press secretary bafflingly telling reporters yesterday that it's Russia's business whether it wants to hold hilariously corrupt fake elections (a stance that obviously doesn't apply to Venezuela, where Rubio — correctly! — has mounted a years-long campaign to pressure Nicolás Maduro's similarly antidemocratic government).
No, the problem is that someone in Trump's inner circle leaked word that the president risked national security by phoning a strongman who might have serious leverage over the U.S. president. Rubio is so upset by this leak that he says it "holds potential for serious damage to the nation."
Bruh. There's only one part of this situation that holds potential for serious damage to the nation, and it's the guy with nuclear codes calling Putin at the same time he's doing everything he can to shut down an independent investigation into his personal ties to Russia's criminal regime.
Other U.S. senators had the basic wherewithal to condemn Trump's phone call to Putin. (And, yes, Barack Obama did the same, arguably also a bad decision — but it didn't come at a time when his ties to the Russian leader were the center of a widening criminal investigation and when his own national security adviser demanded he not do so.)
No sitting U.S. politician is quite as adept as Marco Rubio at dodging the basic responsibilities of his position.
In the month since the Parkland shooting, Rubio has refused to stop taking cash from the NRA and maintained his sparkling record with the assault-weapon lobby by introducing exactly zero legislation that would make it more difficult for civilians to get their hands on weapons of war.
Offered a chance this weekend to strongly warn the president off his obvious desire to fire Robert Mueller, Rubio mostly deferred and instead warned Mueller not to go down too many "rabbit holes."
Now Rubio will condemn the White House leakers — and, implicitly, the journalists who report on them — instead of the guy in the West Wing who is the most obvious danger to national security today.
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