Former President Donald Trump is facing widespread backlash from the establishment left over his indirect request for Russian President Vladimir Putin to release any information he has on the shady business dealings of Hunter Biden.
Of particular concern to the former president is the finding from a 2020 Senate report that a Russian oligarch, Yelena Baturina, funneled $3.5 million to one of Hunter’s firms, Rosemont Seneca Thornton LLC, around the same time that she’d been married to then-Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov in 2014.
“Why did the mayor of Moscow’s wife give the Bidens — both of them — $3.5 million dollars? That’s a lot of money. She gave them $3.5 million. So now I would think Putin would know the answer to that. I think he should release it. I think we should know that answer,” Trump said in an interview this week with Just The News.
This simple request triggered massive backlash from congressional Democrats, their media allies and even the White House:
Asked about the former president’s remarks Wednesday, White House communications director Kate Bedingfield accused him of being the one pursuing shady deals.
“So what I would say about that is: What kind of American, let alone an ex-president, thinks that this is the right time to enter into a scheme with Vladimir Putin and brag about his connections to Vladimir Putin? There is only one, and it’s Donald Trump,” she said.
The outcry from the media was even more pronounced.
Far-left CNN commentator Chris Cillizza wrote an entire column calling the former president’s remark “wrong and dangerous” and arguing that Americans must not simply shrug aside this behavior.
“Trump’s four years in office, culminating with the US Capitol riot on January 6, 2021, reveal that simply rolling your eyes — or as so many Republicans have done (and continue to do), sticking your head in the sand — has real-world consequences,” he wrote.
“And those consequences mean that you can’t just say: ‘That’s just Trump being Trump.’ Because “Trump being Trump” has gotten us to where we are right now, which is a very dangerous place.”
To be clear, Putin didn’t invade Ukraine til Biden took office, so it’s unclear how Trump “has gotten us to where we are now.”
Why you can’t just ignore this statement from Donald Trumphttps://t.co/4icrUG68Qh
— Chris Cillizza (@ChrisCillizza) March 30, 2022
You shouldn’t be suffering from TDS this many years later.
— Brad #RESIST #NOTMYPRESIDENT (@thedirector21) March 30, 2022
Over at The Washington Post, left-wing commentator Jennifer Rubin resurrected the Russian collusion delusion hoax and conspiracy theory and used it to attack Republicans.
“Once more, Republicans remain mute in the face of their party leader’s grossly improper conduct — attempted ‘collusion,’ if you like. Don’t bother waiting for Republicans to repudiate him,” she wrote.
“If they did not do so when he extorted Zelensky or when he praised war criminal Vladimir Putin after the invasion of Ukraine, they are not going to now. Make no mistake: The Republican Party remains in the grip of a man with no appreciation for the danger in soliciting help from dictators.”
The narrative that Republicans are bad for not making a mountain out of a former president’s ramblings also spread to Newsweek.
“Following his comments, Republican leaders such as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy have stayed silent,” the establishment outlet complained.
“Other Republican lawmakers and avid supporters of Trump, including Reps. Madison Cawthorn, Marjorie Taylor Greene and Senators Ted Cruz and Lindsey Graham have also yet to speak out against the former president. Senate Minority Whip John Thune has also not made any public comments criticizing Trump’s weekend remarks.”
Meanwhile on Twitter, “journalists,” Democrat lawmakers and others all joined forces to bash Trump:
President Biden is America’s commander-in-chief; we’re at the brink of open war with Russia; Putin is unambiguously an enemy of America.
So one would expect any info Putin releases about our commander-in-chief to be a lie—and yet Trump now begs for Putin’s aid.
— Seth Abramson (@SethAbramson) March 30, 2022
As Putin is accused of war crimes for his invasion of Ukraine, Trump is asking him for help going after Hunter Biden.
That should tell you everything you need to know about Trump.
— Citizens for Ethics (@CREWcrew) March 31, 2022
Vladimir Putin is a war criminal and a butcher. Here are two responses—
President Biden: This man cannot remain in power.
Trump: Please help me Vladimir.
I am damn proud of our current President. And nauseated by the former President. https://t.co/lO3CEnJ54d
— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) March 30, 2022
What a sleazeball. And a traitor.https://t.co/f050MMxeRJ
— Richard W. Painter (@RWPUSA) March 30, 2022
This traitor is seeking personal gain right now from a brutal enemy of America who’s literally slaughtering innocent men, women, pregnant women, children and babies and decimating cities. Lock…his…ass…up… #Trump #Putin #Ukraine pic.twitter.com/4Gf9tKGy9T
— Andy Ostroy (@AndyOstroy) March 30, 2022
The take from the right has been far more nuanced, with conservatives agreeing that Trump shouldn’t have made the request but also noting that Hunter likewise shouldn’t have been conducting shady business deals in Russia.
Furthermore, conservatives argue, Trump wouldn’t have felt compelled to ask Putin for more information if they’d simply done their jobs in the first place.
Yes, Trump asking Putin for dirt on the Bidens is bad.
Now answer this question — Hunter’s company got $3.5m for a vague consulting agreement from the wife of a Russian pol. It’s documented. Biden lied about it. How is this not corruption and national security issue?
— Mark Hemingway (@Heminator) March 30, 2022
— MARK SIMONE (@MarkSimoneNY) March 30, 2022
Jake Tapper said the name “Hunter Biden” today — but only to shame Trump for suggesting Putin should explain Hunter Biden’s millions from Russia. No shame for Hunter Biden, all the shame for people wanting to know more about Hunter Biden. The media DO NOT CARE what Hunter did. pic.twitter.com/HPaIeV7DKm
— Tim Graham (@TimJGraham) March 30, 2022
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