Homeland Security Chair to Trump: Putin IS NOT Our Friend

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump bows his head during a prayer at a town hall with vice presidential candidate Gov. Mike Pence, R-Ind., Monday, July 25, 2016, in Roanoke, Va. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

If you follow this site at all, you have been made stunningly aware of the massive man-crush GOP nominee Trump has on Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Donald Trump is fascinated by Putin. He has expressed admiration for a man who has clamped down on the media, imprisoned dissenters, and may have possibly had political opponents killed.

At what point do Trump clingers become uneasy with his fawning attention to such a man?

It’s not like he hasn’t been warned.

The top Republican on the House Committee on Homeland Security said Tuesday that he “cautioned” Donald Trump’s presidential campaign in the wake of the GOP candidate’s friendly overtures toward Russian president Vladimir Putin.

When asked about Trump’s friendly statements about Putin following a national security event in Washington, D.C., Tuesday afternoon, Rep. Michael McCaul (R., Texas) said he informed the candidate’s campaign that Putin is not a “friend” to the United States.

Trump’s admiration for such a man may certainly be tied to his own statements, in regards to opening up libel laws to make it harder for the press to speak unfavorably of him, or his insistence that our U.S. military would willingly act as his personal kill force.

“With respect to Mr. Trump, I think he in his own way respects Putin as sort of a ‘strong man,’ if you will, and envisions himself in the same way, and feels like he is in a better position than Hillary to negotiate with him,” McCaul said. “You have to have a strong military to have peace through strength, and I think he feels like he can stare down Putin more strongly than Hillary.”

“Having said that, I cautioned the campaign that Mr. Putin is not our friend. He does not have our own best interests at heart,” the Texas representative continued.

McCaul also went on to point out Russia’s role in cyberattacks, and their willingness to target their adversaries through online attacks.

The Clinton campaign floated the notion that Trump was in Putin’s pocket, after hacks and the subsequent leaks of DNC emails and documents caused unrest at the DNC convention in July.

While Putin denies involvement, sources seem to point back to Russian origins for the attacks, and Democrats insist Russia is trying to interfere in the U.S. election, in order to install a Putin-friendly Trump into power.

McCaul went on to emphasize that Russia’s interests abroad are “far different” than those of the United States, citing the ceasefire deal in Syria brokered between Washington and Moscow that has faltered in recent days as both sides blamed one another for renewed violence. Russia is intent on backing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, a key ally to Moscow, while the United States has sought Assad’s removal as the only solution to the years-long civil war in Syria.

The White House blamed Russia on Tuesday for an airstrike targeting a convoy delivering humanitarian aid west of Aleppo, days after a U.S. airstrike against ISIS targets mistakenly hit Syrian troops.

“Their interests in Iraq and Syria [are] far different from ours and I think you’re seeing that play out. The ceasefire is now falling apart before our very eyes. Their interest is not really to go after ISIS, although I wish they would, but it’s to prop up Assad and the only way to do that is going for rebel forces that are fighting them.”

McCaul said 95 percent of the airstrikes launched by Russia have targeted U.S.-backed rebel forces fighting ISIS. He also described the Obama administration’s military strategy in Syria as a “complete failure,” saying that it has enabled Russian intervention in the region.

“It’s inaction, and now the Russians are in there defeating the very forces that we have tried to build up to defeat ISIS,” McCaul said.

McCaul made a cogent point.

Trump likely feels as if he is a “strong man” on par with Putin. Trump’s supporters are welcoming the idea of having our own, personal “strong man.” A lack of knowledge about the world outside of reality TV and Twitter dulls their senses to the reality of what a “strong man” means for the citizens of the countries those men lead.

It’s not good.

If Trump continues courting the favor of Vladimir Putin, in light of counsel from those with more knowledge on the subject, we can assume that there is no counsel that he will take on any matter, and a Trump presidency would be a disaster, not just for the U.S., but for all our allies, as well.