When President Donald Trump stood next to Russian President Vladimir Putin last year in Helsinki, Finland, declaring he believed the U.S. adversary over his own intelligence officials regarding Russian interference in the 2016 election, Americans and the world stood aghast.
When Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said he had nothing to do with the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi last year, Trump took him at his word and defended the royal family — despite his own intelligence community’s assessment that the prince likely ordered the hit.
Americans and the world stood slightly less shocked, but appalled nonetheless.
For a third time, Trump told reporters on Wednesday that he is willing to take the claims of a tyrant at face value, regardless the impact on U.S. interests, in stating his acceptance of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s insistence he knew nothing about the treatment of Otto Warmbier — the American who died after being held in a North Korean prison.
Politicians at home, some of whom readily defend the president, were outraged by Trump’s actions.
Rick Santorum, who has repeatedly defended even some of Trump’s most indefensible behaviors, said the president’s most recent move was “reprehensible”:
But truly, no one should be surprised by Trump’s acceptance of Kim’s claim. He has demonstrated previously that he is prone to taking the word of murderous tyrants and dictators.
Perhaps Republicans will soon learn that Trump’s deference to Putin was not a one-off incident; rather, he has shown that common sense, his own intelligence officials, and the interests of the country he leads are not enough to break him of this bizarre and dangerous habit.