Russia Allegations Lead to Donald Trump’s Dumbest Tweet Ever

Naive!

David Goldman/AP

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.


Donald Trump has hit send on a lot of ill-advised tweets—tweets that were false, tweets that showed him to be thin-skinned or a bully. But perhaps no tweet ranks as, well, dumb as the one he sent out Wednesday morning, just hours before his first press conference in six months. He was reacting to news stories noting that when the intelligence community provided President Barack Obama and Trump its assessment that Russia hacked the 2016 campaign in order to help Trump, the spies also provided Obama and Trump a two-page addendum noting that a foreign counterintelligence veteran had provided the US government with memos claiming Russian intelligence had mounted a yearslong operation to co-opt or cultivate Trump and had gathered compromising information on Trump. This is how Trump responded:

Trump was apparently referring to a Vladimir Putin spokesman dismissing these reports as “pulp fiction” and an “attempt to harm our bilateral relationship.”

So here was the incoming president of the United States embracing a Kremlin statement as the go-to truth. Russia, by the way, has also denied hacking Democratic targets to influence the presidential election, and Trump still has not fully acknowledged the US intelligence conclusion that Moscow meddled in the campaign to assist Trump. 

Trump’s tweet demonstrated a profound naiveté. If the memos are accurate and Putin’s regime did collaborate with Trump’s camp and did try to win him over (let alone coerce him to be supportive of Putin and Russian interests), would the Kremlin ever admit doing so? This is Le Carré stuff. Spy versus spy. Homeland. Note to Trump: It is a secret! One need not be an intelligence expert to realize that a foreign power that mounted a clandestine operation to influence a prominent businessman, a presidential candidate, or a president would not publicly admit to doing so.

It is stunning that Trump would point to this Kremlin remark as an accurate statement that deserves credence. There are plenty of other ways he could have responded to these inconvenient and troubling news reports. His inability to recognize Moscow spin as irrelevant and not credible is worrisome. It is absurd for a president-to-be to promote Putin’s talking points as truth, and the fact the man who will soon be in charge of US national security doesn’t understand this is frightening.

LET’S TALK ABOUT OPTIMISM FOR A CHANGE

Democracy and journalism are in crisis mode—and have been for a while. So how about doing something different?

Mother Jones did. We just merged with the Center for Investigative Reporting, bringing the radio show Reveal, the documentary film team CIR Studios, and Mother Jones together as one bigger, bolder investigative journalism nonprofit.

And this is the first time we’re asking you to support the new organization we’re building. In “Less Dreading, More Doing,” we lay it all out for you: why we merged, how we’re stronger together, why we’re optimistic about the work ahead, and why we need to raise the First $500,000 in online donations by June 22.

It won’t be easy. There are many exciting new things to share with you, but spoiler: Wiggle room in our budget is not among them. We can’t afford missing these goals. We need this to be a big one. Falling flat would be utterly devastating right now.

A First $500,000 donation of $500, $50, or $5 would mean the world to us—a signal that you believe in the power of independent investigative reporting like we do. And whether you can pitch in or not, we have a free Strengthen Journalism sticker for you so you can help us spread the word and make the most of this huge moment.

payment methods

LET’S TALK ABOUT OPTIMISM FOR A CHANGE

Democracy and journalism are in crisis mode—and have been for a while. So how about doing something different?

Mother Jones did. We just merged with the Center for Investigative Reporting, bringing the radio show Reveal, the documentary film team CIR Studios, and Mother Jones together as one bigger, bolder investigative journalism nonprofit.

And this is the first time we’re asking you to support the new organization we’re building. In “Less Dreading, More Doing,” we lay it all out for you: why we merged, how we’re stronger together, why we’re optimistic about the work ahead, and why we need to raise the First $500,000 in online donations by June 22.

It won’t be easy. There are many exciting new things to share with you, but spoiler: Wiggle room in our budget is not among them. We can’t afford missing these goals. We need this to be a big one. Falling flat would be utterly devastating right now.

A First $500,000 donation of $500, $50, or $5 would mean the world to us—a signal that you believe in the power of independent investigative reporting like we do. And whether you can pitch in or not, we have a free Strengthen Journalism sticker for you so you can help us spread the word and make the most of this huge moment.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate