From Abby Phillip for the Washington Post:
In an interview with Fox News’s Bill O’Reilly, which will air ahead of the Super Bowl on Sunday, Trump doubled down on his “respect” for Putin – even in the face of accusations that Putin and his associates have murdered journalists and dissidents in Russia.
“I do respect him. Well, I respect a lot of people, but that doesn’t mean I’ll get along with them,” Trump told O’Reilly.
O’Reilly pressed on, declaring to the president that “Putin is a killer.”
Unfazed, Trump didn’t back away, but rather compared Putin’s reputation for extrajudicial killings with the United States’.
“There are a lot of killers. We have a lot of killers,” Trump said. “Well, you think our country is so innocent?”
There are many of us who voted for him hoped that he had learned from the error in applying America in a moral equivalence with Putin’s KGB inspired killings. Perhaps he just felt he arrogantly could just get by with it again after not paying a political price for saying the same thing in a 2015 interview with Joe Scarborough on MSNBC.
Trump’s main media enablers such as Sean Hannity, Laura Ingram, and Ann Coulter could have helped curb such rhetoric at the time, but chose not to. Now, there is no turning back from a philosophical point in which Trump truly believes. Someone who says he wants to “make American great again” or believes in “America first” cannot utter such a thought cannot assume to have the moral compass to lead.
Alexis de Tocqueville supposedly penned a famous line about American which went, American is great because America is good.” The line has sadly been dispatched by historical scrutiny as not ever being written but Americans from all political sides still gain inspiration from it. John Kerry used the line in a speech in which he conceded the 2004 election to then president George W. Bush and refusing to contest the election. Donald Trump can claim such devotion to a quote as this.
Trump now asks much of people who voted for him. Even more from the staff whom has to defend him in the morning on talk shows. Their boss is on an island that only fringes of our nation’s society stroll. What Trump said tonight to Bill O’Reilly is unforgivable to many, including this writer.