A delusional, dangerous Trump is harming America's security

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Sources say President Trump was so woefully unprepared for conversations with rivals and allies that he presented a national security threat. Legendary Watergate journalist Carl Bernstein discusses with CNN's John Berman.

Posted: Jul 1, 2020 4:21 AM
Updated: Jul 1, 2020 4:21 AM

The president, according to a jaw-dropping report by Carl Bernstein published by CNN detailing egregious behavior in phone calls with foreign leaders, is delusional and dangerous, putting his own personal grievances ahead of American interests and putting American national security at risk.

None of this can possibly come as a surprise to anyone who has been paying attention to Trump's tenure, or even anyone who has listened to the president speak. But it is more disturbing evidence that this president, along with his enablers in the White House and the Republican Party, poses a direct threat to American interests and our country's future.

Drawing on multiple sources who have heard the president's conversations with foreign leaders, Bernstein paints a picture of an impulsive and delusional bully, a man so out of his depth and unhinged from reality that he spends phone calls with autocratic leaders like Turkey's Recep Tayyip Erdogan or Russia's Vladimir Putin exaggerating his own accomplishments and allowing those smarter than he to gain strategic advantage.

By contrast, he is condescending and bullying to America's allies, particularly those nations led (at the time of these calls) by women, like Great Britain's Theresa May and Germany's Angela Merkel. He has, Bernstein's sources assert, dimmed America's power while emboldening and empowering Russia. He's so happy to speak with Erdogan that Trump even takes the Turkish strongman's calls from the golf course.

According to Bernstein's sources, it was the conversations with Erdogan, a serial human rights abuser who quashes dissent and fair-minded reporting on his regime, that shaped Trump's decision-making in Syria -- "including the President's directive to pull US forces out of the country, which then allowed Turkey to attack Kurds who had helped the US fight ISIS and weakened NATO's role in the conflict," Bernstein writes.

The question is, what now? While it's jarring to see all of these damning claims compiled in such a deeply sourced exposé, the claims themselves are mostly things we've heard before, or could have surmised based on the president's public behavior (do we really think that he's more professional, coherent, and thoughtful in private than in planned press conferences and pre-written speeches?).

During the 2016 election, we were in fact privy to one particularly memorable private chat between Trump and Billy Bush, wherein the now-president bragged about grabbing women by their genitals. He has been accused of sexual harassment and assault by over a dozen women. He has appointed fewer women than any president in the previous decade (and possibly fewer than any president in 20 years). Is anyone surprised that he aggressively mistreats female heads of state?

We've all seen the president take the podium and lie to the press and the public. We've seen him invent claims about the coronavirus pandemic seemingly on the spot, putting public health and American lives at risk. We've seen him fire those who investigate his alleged bad acts. It does not take great imagination, or anything other than looking honestly at what is in front of your face, to see that this is a man dangerously unfit for the office he occupies.

And yet we've seen his support among his base and GOP leadership go largely unchanged. Few current or former members of the administration have sounded the alarm on what a liability this president truly is, perhaps because they're craven and, like John Bolton, apparently more interested in cashing in on a tell-all book than walking the country back from the brink. Or perhaps they look at congressional Republicans and conclude that all of this information is already obvious, and the president's party has chosen to defend a clearly damaged and harmful man.

According to Bernstein, "One person familiar with almost all the conversations with the leaders of Russia, Turkey, Canada, Australia and western Europe described the calls cumulatively as 'abominations' so grievous to US national security interests that if members of Congress heard from witnesses to the actual conversations or read the texts and contemporaneous notes, even many senior Republican members would no longer be able to retain confidence in the President." But why in the world would this be the conclusion, knowing what we do about ongoing Republican support for Trump even after impeachment hearings brought to the fore the president's incompetence and choice to put self before country?

The sources in Bernstein's story have a stark choice in front of them: Continue to prop up a man who they know threatens the nation, or stand up for the future of this country and put their name and face behind the truth. If these high-level public servants really believe that "even many senior Republican members would no longer be able to retain confidence in the President" if they knew the truth, then surely Republicans in Congress -- and the rest of the country -- deserve to know just that.

There is an election in four months. American voters, and our elected officials, must know the full story of this president's first term. And we need to hear it not from cowardly anonymous sources, but from the men and women who have witnessed these abominations themselves. If those men and women are the patriots they believe themselves to be, they'll speak out, and they'd do it before November.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 895229

Reported Deaths: 9462
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1749772017
Ramsey722701040
Dakota66032572
Anoka62513568
Washington39357355
Stearns32821275
St. Louis28761399
Wright25354211
Scott25329181
Olmsted21750127
Sherburne18478126
Carver1629166
Clay11923103
Blue Earth1126366
Rice11234138
Crow Wing11003122
Chisago974676
Kandiyohi9660106
Otter Tail9611126
Benton8815124
Beltrami801794
Goodhue786596
Douglas7689100
Itasca752796
Mower721349
Winona702756
McLeod694483
Isanti681383
Steele669431
Morrison663479
Becker620873
Polk591684
Freeborn550846
Carlton529474
Nobles521654
Lyon518761
Mille Lacs516573
Nicollet510960
Pine500641
Cass491252
Todd483642
Brown465057
Le Sueur445933
Meeker422357
Martin378143
Wabasha366010
Waseca365132
Dodge351511
Hubbard349848
Roseau307931
Fillmore299115
Wadena298239
Redwood277845
Houston266817
Renville264151
Faribault253032
Pennington247529
Sibley246917
Kanabec241536
Cottonwood225032
Chippewa216342
Aitkin215850
Pope203210
Watonwan194920
Yellow Medicine185423
Rock174728
Swift169322
Koochiching168123
Stevens164511
Jackson159216
Clearwater155720
Marshall151122
Murray150911
Pipestone148329
Lake129824
Lac qui Parle120025
Wilkin119416
Mahnomen104714
Norman10389
Grant9719
Big Stone9365
Lincoln8705
Kittson71523
Red Lake70710
Traverse5996
Unassigned572124
Lake of the Woods5235
Cook3020

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 516453

Reported Deaths: 7289
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk80319799
Linn32142424
Scott26637292
Black Hawk21974378
Woodbury20490258
Johnson19778105
Dubuque18515241
Pottawattamie15890213
Dallas15320113
Story1380258
Warren8450104
Cerro Gordo7964123
Clinton7725114
Webster7326122
Des Moines7098105
Marshall669093
Muscatine6645117
Wapello6441144
Jasper619591
Sioux610177
Lee5908105
Marion557897
Buena Vista502149
Plymouth488388
Henry418655
Benton404859
Jones404862
Bremer395372
Washington391463
Boone389739
Carroll367755
Mahaska365365
Crawford353747
Dickinson314655
Jackson307747
Buchanan305741
Clay295536
Delaware294654
Kossuth289077
Fayette286353
Hardin284353
Tama279777
Page272533
Wright266149
Cedar265527
Hamilton259857
Winneshiek258143
Floyd255449
Clayton244459
Poweshiek237243
Madison234525
Harrison234379
Cass233466
Butler232744
Iowa229634
Jefferson223043
Mills220930
Winnebago215938
Hancock214639
Cherokee211347
Lyon206142
Appanoose205357
Allamakee203955
Calhoun196919
Shelby196442
Union191141
Humboldt185130
Grundy183637
Franklin183029
Mitchell182043
Chickasaw178922
Emmet178246
Louisa176953
Sac171026
Guthrie168137
Montgomery161745
Clarke160829
Keokuk150839
Palo Alto150532
Howard146824
Monroe142739
Ida130141
Greene127517
Davis124625
Lucas124426
Monona122939
Worth12139
Pocahontas120724
Adair114337
Osceola104818
Decatur101913
Taylor98514
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