In what may be their most critical commentary on the president of Donald Trump, the editors of the deeply conservative Wall Street Journal questioned the loyalty of the president saying he is putting his personal profit and desire for attention before the needs of the country.
Calling it the "Trump First Doctrine," the editors called the president's latest overseas trip to meet with NATO leaders and Russian President Vladimir Putin a prelude to a "weak and dangerous place to be."
The start of the editorial was exceptionally blunt.
"Donald Trump left for Europe a week ago with his reputation enhanced by a strong Supreme Court nomination. He returned Monday with that reputation diminished after a tumultuous week of indulging what amounts to the Trump First Doctrine," it began.
"Mr. Trump marched through Europe with more swagger than strategy. His diplomacy is personal, rooted in instinct and impulse, and he treats other leaders above all on how much they praise Donald J. Trump," it continued. "He says what pops into his head to shock but then disavows it if there’s a backlash. He criticizes institutions and policies to grab headlines but then claims victory no matter the outcome."
"The world hasn’t seen a U.S. President like this in modern times, and as ever in Trump World everyone else will have to adapt. Let’s navigate between the critics who predict the end of world order and the cheerleaders who see only genius, and try to offer a realistic assessment of the fallout from a troubling week," they wrote before going point by point through Trump's disastrous European trip.
Addressing Trump's dismissal of U.S. intelligence agencies accusations that Russia meddled in the 2016 presidential election while standing next to Putin, the WSJ called it a "kowtow to the Kremlin."
"The charitable explanation for this kowtow to the Kremlin is that Mr. Trump can’t get past his fury that critics claim his election was tainted by Russian interference. And so he couldn’t resist, in front of the world, going off on a solipsistic ramble about 'Hillary Clinton’s emails' and Democratic 'servers.'" they wrote. "He can’t seem to figure out that the more he indulges his ego in this fashion, and the more he seems to indulge Mr. Putin, the more ammunition he gives to his opponents."
"For a rare moment in his Presidency, Mr. Trump also projected weakness," they scolded. "He was the one on stage beseeching Mr. Putin for a better relationship, while the Russian played it cool and matter of fact. Mr. Trump touted their personal rapport, saying the bilateral relationship has never been worse than it is now. However, that changed as of about four hours ago. I really believe that.' In four hours?"
"By going soft on Mr. Putin, Mr. Trump will paradoxically find it even harder to make deals with the Russian. Republicans and Democrats will unite in Congress, as they should, to limit his diplomatic running room. Mr. Trump may decide to court Mr. Putin anyway, like Barack Obama did Iran’s mullahs, but political isolation concerning a foreign adversary is a weak and dangerous place to be," they concluded in a final warning.
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