The list grows:
-Commit American dollars to building a wall
-Institute “extreme vetting”
-Through an administration official, tell the media to “shut up”
Russian president Vladimir Putin must be smiling. It has taken all of 10 days for Donald Trump, the man the Russians wanted in the White House, to ratchet up anger, fear and discord in the United States.
So, why would Putin be celebrating? The Columbia Journalism Review offers a hint at the answer when it reports:
Russia’s ultimate goal is to sow distrust in the democratic process and in democracy itself, says Stefan Meister of the German Council on Foreign Relations, in an interview.
A bruising presidential campaign left millions of Americans dissatisfied, regardless of which way they voted. Vicious attacks on the opposition; emails suggesting one party had its thumb on the primary process; unsubstantiated reports of a candidate’s health; fears that votes were flipped. The collective impact of these and other events, many that were highlighted and used in Russian propaganda throughout 2016, have many Americans on edge.
They also have the potential to undermine faith in democracy.
I recognize Trump is following through on promises made during the campaign. I realize his supporters are backing him, even though many of them are remaining quiet. I accept that the use of the executive order, however controversial it might be, is a tool that Trump’s predecessors also have used.
Let’s also accept that Trump doubled-down on his intentions during his inauguration address when he spoke of an “America First” administration. Through executive order after executive order, he has governed by fiat; Congress seems to be an afterthought as he plows ahead.
The executive order that has generated the most anger is the one that denies people from seven nations entry into the United States. Signed late Friday, it quickly led to confusion and large protests at many American airports. Labelled the “Muslim Ban,” it found itself afoul of the law on Saturday, when a federal judge issued a stay, an order that prevents the implementation of the president’s demand.
It didn’t take long for Republican politicians to weigh in. One of the most prominent critics is Ohio senator Rob Portman. The Washington Examiner notes Sen. Portman remains in President Trump’s corner, but…
“However, I think [his order] was not properly vetted, so you have a extreme vetting proposal that didn’t get the vetting it should have had. As a result in the implementation, we’ve seen some problems.”
“I think we should slow down,” Portman said, adding that national security needs to be tightened but that it needs to be done in a way that is “consistent with our values.”
“Our” is the most important word in that sentence.
Suffice to say in a fractured society, what “our” stands for is ever more difficult to determine.
And that should suit President Putin just fine.