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Once again, politicians and pundits have short memories. It’s as if those who dislike Donald Trump forgot what Washington D.C. overlooked when Obama occupied the White House. For instance, in March 2012, Russia’s Vladimir Putin won an election that, at the time, the New York Times implied was rigged:
A day after claiming an overwhelming victory in Russia’s presidential election, Vladimir V. Putin … faced a range of challenges to his legitimacy, including charges of fraud from international observers and a defiant opposition that vowed to keep him from serving his full six-year term.
On the day of the Russian election, the U.S. State Department, headed by Hillary ‘Uranium One’ Clinton, congratulated the people of Russia in a statement that said the United States “looks forward to working with the president-elect after the results are certified and he is sworn in.”
The following day, a supplemental State Department press release cited the concerns of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). The organization’s suspicions included, “conditions under which the [Russian] campaign was conducted, the partisan use of government resources, and procedural irregularities on election day, among other issues.” On behalf of the OSCE, the State Department went on to “urge Russian authorities… to ensure that the procedures for future elections …be more transparent.”
It’s uncanny how similar that is when compared to some of the election antics Democrats employ.
Nonetheless, the election glitches as well as Russia’s failing record on democracy, the rule of law, and human rights, didn’t stop Nobel Peace Prize winner/negotiator extraordinaire, Barack Obama from dialing up Vlad to commend the president-elect on his victory.
Rather than broach State Department and OSCE concerns, according to the White House:
President Obama highlighted achievements in U.S.-Russia relations over the past three years with President Medvedev, including cooperation on Afghanistan, the conclusion and ratification of the START agreement, Russia’s recent invitation to join the World Trade Organization (WTO) and cooperation on Iran. President Obama and President-Elect Putin agreed that the successful reset in relations should be built upon during the coming years.
Obama also told Putin that he looked forward to the G-8 summit at Camp David and “…agreed to continue discussions on areas where the United States and Russia have differed, including Syria and missile defense…[and to]…continue…efforts to find common ground and remove obstacles to better relations.”
Evidently, 2012 Barack remained indifferent toward Russian threats because at the end of March, at the Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul, South Korea, Obama reaffirmed the tone of his post-election telephone call during a hush-hush chat with Russian President Medvedev. During that live mic dispatch, Obama asked Dmitry to convey to Vladimir that after the 2012 election Barack would be more “flexible.”
Then, during the October 2012 debate when his Republican opponent Mitt Romney, suggested Russia was the most significant “geopolitical threat facing America,” the former president reestablished his lack of trepidation concerning Russia yet again. In response to Romney’s assertion, the soon-to-be “flexible” Obama mockingly quipped back, “And, the 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back, because, the Cold War’s been over for 20 years.”
Fast-forward to March 2018 and Vladimir Putin has won re-election.
In response to Russia’s selection, the OSCE reiterated its 2012 concerns surrounding Russian “Restrictions on the fundamental freedoms of assembly, association and expression, as well as on candidate registration, …[and the] limited the space for political engagement [which] resulted in a lack of genuine competition.”
Notwithstanding these and other concerns, President Trump followed Obama’s lead and phoned Putin. The President offered his congratulations and refrained from discussing things like Russia’s meddling in U.S. elections, nerve agent attacks on former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia, and the sanctions the U.S. recently imposed on Russia for “malicious cyber attacks.
Just like Obama in 2012, Trump chose to limit the call to discuss “shared interests” and a prosed plan to meet with Putin in the future. The only difference between 2012 and 2018 in that unlike Barack Obama, Donald Trump’s call to Vladimir has garnered disapproval from the left and criticism from some on the right.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) had this to say: “When I look at a Russian election, what I see is a lack of credibility in tallying the results. Calling him wouldn’t have been high on my list.” Dependable Trump faultfinder, Senator John McCain (R-AZ) chimed in, saying:
An American president does not lead the free world by congratulating dictators on winning sham elections. And by doing so with Vladimir Putin, President Trump insulted every Russian citizen who was denied the right to vote in a free and fair election to determine their country’s future, including the countless Russian patriots who have risked so much to protest and resist Putin’s regime.
With friends like McConnell and McCain, who needs Democrat adversaries like Virginia’s Democratic Senator Tim Kaine, who once said that Trump is a “president who acts like he’s Vladimir Putin’s defense lawyer.”
In fact, the reaction to Trump’s Russian election telephone call dredges up memories of Mrs. Obama, who, after bringing Laura Bush a boxed gift on Inauguration Day 2010, mocked first lady Melania Trump for presenting her with a boxed gift on Inauguration Day 2016.
Duplicity is how the Washington D.C. rolls, especially when it comes to all things Trump. In the end, that duplicity is evidenced by double-dealing politicians and pundits alike, most of whom withheld criticism when Obama called Russia’s newly elected president in 2012, but who now condemn Donald Trump for doing and saying the same thing.