After spending weeks denying the mounting evidence that Russia played a role in getting him elected and attacking the CIA for exposing Russia’s cyber attacks on the Democratic National Committee, Donald Trump employed a new tactic Friday, suggesting that the Kremlin’s interference in the election was good for America.
The president-elect started his Twitter ritual at 5-am by implying that whoever stole tens of thousands of emails from top Democratic officials and leaked them online actually did the U.S. a favor.
It’s unclear what prompted Trump to pose this question to his 17 million Twitter followers at five o’clock in the morning. What is clear is that the hacking to which Trump was referring was the same Russian state-sponsored attack that he’s repeatedly downplayed and dismissed.
Trump’s tweet was worrisome for several reasons, least of which is that Brazile did not do anything “illegal” by sharing the question with Clinton ahead of her March debate with her rival Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). It could perhaps be argued that it was unethical. But there is no law governing what a party official can do with questions if they receive them ahead of a primary debate.
But the bigger problem with Trump’s tweet, however, is that he’s asking Americans to view this massive cyber-espionage campaign ― in which Russian state-sponsored hackers targeted Democrat and Republican political committees, candidates, and campaign staff ― as some kind of public service to America, because it “revealed” that Brazile had shared a debate question.
Tweeter users were quick to fire back:
Yup, Trump appeared to be oblivious to the fact that the Russian cyberattack was just that, an attack, by a foreign power, designed to undermine Americans’ confidence in the democratic electoral system.
In order to govern the nation, Trump will need to stop viewing world events only in the context of whether they benefit him personally, or harm his personal enemies, and begin to see them for how they impact the nation as a whole.