Trump's defenders are pretending he didn't get played by Putin: columnist
President Donald Trump's manner with Russian leader Vladimir Putin was in contrast to the anger he flashed at NATO allies. (AFP / Brendan Smialowski)

In his column for the Daily Beast, political analyst David Rothkopf called out defenders of Donald Trump who are accusing President Joe Biden of being "weak" when it comes to international relations and reminded them of how Trump was played like a fiddle by Russian strongman Vladimir Putin -- and other authoritarian leaders -- during his disastrous four years in office.

With Putin threatening an invasion of Ukraine and Biden holding the line, some conservatives who have made it their mission in life to gaslight Americans about Trump's foreign achievements -- or lack of -- now rage that Biden is over his head when it comes to foreign leaders or, in the case of cable personalities like Fox's Tucker Carlson ("The frozen seafood heir turned human fountain of anti-American bullshit") they are siding with Putin saber-rattling.

As Rothkopf wrote, "You would think that given the fact Donald Trump was impeached for illegally withholding congressionally approved aid to Ukraine, his supporters might take the current crisis as an opportunity to have a seat. You would think that since Trump in June 2020 advocated for drawing down U.S. troops in Germany, and after having spent years weakening NATO with his attacks and criticisms, that the current urgent need for strength within the Western alliance would have Trumpists hitting their own mute buttons."

But, as he notes, Republicans can't help themselves as they try to whitewash the Trump years and refuse to come together with the current administration.

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Writing, "Even with Trump not occupying the White House, Republicans and the warped cogs in their giant message machine continue to see their mission as strengthening not the U.S. and our allies, but Russia; and serving not the national interests, but their own political self-interests," the columnist added, "They are taking short-term memory loss and turning into a movement, making cognitive dysfunction a requirement for admission into a MAGA fairyland in which rivers of Fox News disinformation continue to flow from the well-springs of Russian propaganda, in which heroes are magically transformed into villains, friends into enemies, and good into evil."

According to Rothkopf, Biden is in the process of cleaning up the mess Trump left for him by playing footsy with the former KGB head who preyed on the former president's need for flattery and his incuriosity about world affairs before and during his four years in office.

"The reality also holds that Trump’s record on Russia—and the damage he did with our allies and at home—set the stage for the crisis that Biden and his team are expertly managing today," he wrote. "Don’t forget Trump said on the campaign trail that he would consider lifting sanctions on Russia and recognizing occupied Crimea as Russian land. His rationale? 'The people of Crimea,' Trump said, 'from what I’ve heard, would rather be with Russia than where they were.'"

He then added, "In other words, not only are the GOP critiques of Biden’s handling of this crisis completely out of place, they are stunningly hypocritical and stunningly craven—even for this group of compulsive liars. It’s all part of a calculated disinformation campaign designed to both inflame the GOP base while also providing cover for the manifold errors and betrayals of the Trump years," before concluding, "In their accusations that Biden is weak they reveal not only their fear that he is actually strong, but are projecting their own desperate weaknesses in bearing the impossible burden of having to defend their records as part of the worst of any American administration in history."

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