National Security & Defense

The Corner

The President and Patriotism

President Trump has made a great deal of patriotism, or nationalism: “America First.” “Make America Great Again.” And so on. But sometimes his actions belie his claims to patriotism.

In an interview for Fox News, Bill O’Reilly said to the president, “Putin’s a killer.” The president replied, “There are a lot of killers. We’ve got a lot of killers. What, you think our country’s so innocent?”

Now comes news of what President Trump said in the Oval Office to two representatives of the Putin regime: Lavrov, the foreign minister, and Kislyak, the ambassador. They came up through the Soviet ranks. “I’ve known Lavrov for 30 years,” said Senator McCain, “and he’s an old KGB stooge.”

What did President Trump say to the two men? “I just fired the head of the FBI. He was crazy, a real nut job.” (He also said, “I faced great pressure because of Russia. That’s taken off” — which is quite a statement.)

Say what you will about James Comey: He is a patriotic American and lawman, and the president of the United States trashed him to two representatives of a regime hostile to the United States. Two representatives of an illiberal regime, which imprisons, maims, or kills independent journalists and political opponents; which violates international law; which seeks to disrupt the Western democracies; etc.

This is not patriotism. This is not putting America first. A president, in my view, should not trash his fellow Americans to officials of a government hostile to the U.S. That ought to be 101.

I have had my problems with James Comey. But I’ll sure as hell take him over Putin and his men.

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