“Party before country.” “Country before party.”
We’ve heard both of those phrases a lot since Donald Trump was elected president in 2016, as Republicans and Democrats accuse each other of doing the former when it’s their constitutional duty to do the latter.
For Trump, it’s party before country all the time, with the latest example being his reported anger over a Feb. 13 intelligence briefing to lawmakers that indicated Russia has continued its election meddling from 2016 and is trying to influence the 2020 election so Trump is re-elected.
While the president should be angered by Russia continuing to meddle in U.S. elections, of course he’s not. After all, he openly begged for Russia to hack into the 2016 election to see to it that Hillary Clinton wouldn’t win. What Trump is angry about, and this shouldn’t surprise anyone, is his concern that Democrats will use the intel disseminated at the Feb. 13 briefing against him.
Five different people familiar with the briefing to the House Intelligence Committee stated that the day after the briefing, Trump berated Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire for allowing it to take place at all, and especially for allowing it to take place with California U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff present. Schiff is the lead Democrat on intelligence in the House, and even though he led impeachment proceedings against the president, he had every right to be in the room.
Trump has since dumped Maguire and replaced him with Richard Grenell, onetime ambassador to Germany, one of the most enthusiastic Trump loyalists there is, and who also happens to have no experience whatsoever in intelligence. Doesn’t matter. Party before country.
This is so Trump. It’s such a Trump thing for him to be upset because, he reportedly said, Schiff will “weaponize” the intelligence detailed at the Feb. 13 briefing to undermine him. And it’s so Trump for the president to be mad that he wasn’t given more notice about the briefing. It’s all a “deep-state” conspiracy against him, you know. That pesky deep state, determined to get Trump out of office as soon as possible.
Republicans at the briefing challenged the assertions that Russia is again trying to hand an election to Trump, saying that Trump has been tough on Russia. But the information detailed on Feb. 13 wasn’t an opinion of any anti-Trump individual with an ax to grind, but was instead based on intelligence gleaned by multiple agencies. But Trump and his loyalists have constantly challenged and disregarded the intelligence community’s competence and capabilities, except when it’s convenient for them, like when they claimed intel indicated they had to assassinate Iranian general Soleimani in early January because he was an imminent threat to inflict mass casualties.
A United States president should be incensed that a powerful enemy with a confirmed history of hacking into our most important election is at it once again. Country before party. But our current president isn’t incensed by that, he’s incensed that anyone knows about it, especially Democrats. Party before country.