On Thursday’s episode of “The Michael Knowles Show,” the host discusses President Donald Trump’s answer on whether or not he would turn over documents from a foreign government regarding political opponents. Video and partial transcript below.
It’s a bad look to say, “Yeah, I want foreign governments to give me dirt on my opponents.” You don’t want to encourage them to give you dirt on your opponents because then you owe the foreign governments. And by the way, Trump didn’t do this. He’s putting himself into this hypothetical situation that he’s going to be criticized for that he didn’t even do. It’s just a bad political look.
Now the left and the anti-Trump right are in hysterics and they’re saying he’s not a patriot and he’s a traitor to his country. That’s not the issue. The actual thing he’s talking about isn’t even the issue. Every country interferes in every other country’s elections. Countries interfere with each other. They do it all the time. During the Obama administration, Barack Obama sent his senior campaign aides to Israel to try to oust Benjamin Netanyahu from power. He sent $350,000 of U.S. taxpayer money to a front organization to oust Bibi Netanyahu from power in Israel. We all interfere in each other’s elections.
Still, what you don’t want is for the President of the United States to accept this sort of thing and premises publicly. Because what it does, invariably, is create the impression of disloyalty to your country. That’s the impression that President Trump is giving off. He’s saying, yeah, I would totally accept the help of foreign governments I would incentivize foreign governments to give me dirt on American politicians.
He’s not actually doing it, but actually, Democrat politicians have done this. They have gone and colluded with foreign governments to try to win elections. Ted Kennedy colluded with the Soviet Union to try to win the presidency. He was negotiating with the Soviet Union to help him get elected. So, it does happen. But why don’t you say it? You don’t say it because hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue. Because you don’t want to create incentives. Publicly speaking, you don’t want to put out on your bullhorn and say “hey foreign governments of the world give me dirt on my opponents. Please spy on American citizens, spy on American politicians.” It’s just a bad look.
The good thing you can say for President Trump in this interaction is something that I’ve said for a long time. Which is that President Trump is the most honest president that we’ve ever had. He is. Call him honest Donald. You have Honest Abe and now you can have honest Donald. Why is he the most honest president? Because President Trump brags about doing all the bad things and thinking all the bad things that all the other presidents have also done but they’ve hidden. He’s open about it. He’s honest about it. What he said is practically true. If you’re the president or you’re running a campaign, and someone comes up to you and says, “We got dirt on your opponent”. Let’s say it’s some Norwegian lawyer.
Maybe he’s got ties to the Norwegian government. He says, “I’ve got a ton of dirt on your opponent”. One hundred percent of political campaigns take that meeting and take the dirt, they hear him out. As Trump said, maybe they call the FBI after maybe they don’t – who knows. One hundred percent of campaigns do it.
Only this guy would actually admit to wanting to do that or to actually doing that. In some ways this is refreshing. I actually do think this has some positive effect on our political discourse because it just knocks away so much B.S. so much preening, falsehood. However, what this also means is then we need to articulate that it’s bad. You don’t want to incentivize foreign governments to spy on American citizens, even if they’re awful American citizens like Hillary Clinton. You don’t want to incentivize that. You don’t want it to seem like the President of the United States is encouraging you to do that or offering you something in return. That’s not a good idea. It’s refreshing to hear a guy speak honestly but then it’s incumbent on all the rest of us to say right that’s true and that is honest, but we shouldn’t do that … don’t do it.