One of Barack Obama’s key campaign promises in 2004 was that he would sit down and talk with both friends and foes. While Republicans, including John McCain, were quick to criticize candidate Obama on such plans, President Obama didn’t break that promise. He worked with Iran to strike a nuclear deal, which to this date is still hotly debated. While it likely helped avoid military conflict, those on the other side argue that it did not make us or Israel any safer.
Here we find ourselves years later, and one of the biggest critics of Obama’s Iran deal, Donald Trump, is now President of the United States. If it were completely up to him, he’d likely tear the deal up and begin raining bombs down on Tehran. However, it has not come to that just yet. This morning however, President Trump decided to make a rather odd tweet (yes we are used to this by now). This tweet, which is a tad bit concerning to say the least — not for fear that he will start World War III, but because of his total lack of understanding of the fundamental principle of being President and being able to separate personal and governmental dealings. The Tweet reads as follows:
“I don’t know Putin, have no deals in Russia, and the haters are going crazy – yet Obama can make a deal with Iran, #1 in terror, no problem!”
Besides the fact that Trump, in 2012, specifically stated that he knows Putin and had met him or that the President is using words like ‘haters’ (that’s so 1990’s), the more concerning part of this statement is the fact that he equates Barack Obama’s deal, on behalf of the United States Government and United Nations, to that of his alleged personal dealings with Putin and Russia.
Let’s be clear here. No one is criticizing Trump for any deal he may sign with Russia on the part of the United States. For instance, if he was to sign a peace agreement which stated that Russian-backed rebels would leave Ukraine, in exchange for the dropping of sanctions by the U.S., most in Congress would cheer that move. Signing a deal with a hostile power is not considered corruption. What Trump seemingly can’t distinguish between, however, is the obvious divergence between personal dealings with a hostile foreign nation while being President of the United States, and diplomatic dealings with that same foreign power on behalf of the nation that he leads.
This is deeply troubling, as it appears as if President Trump has no ability to delineate between the two concepts. While many on the left have criticized President Trump’s possible conflicts of interest between his business dealings and the Presidency, with some even calling for impeachment, it appears as if Trump doesn’t even understand the underlying concept behind such a concern. Equating Obama’s diplomatic dealings with Iran to his alleged personal dealings within Russia and possibly with Vladimir Putin is immensely concerning. If President Trump doesn’t realize the difference between the two concepts, then it is quite clear that he wouldn’t understand all of the possible conflicts of interest between his business, Trump Organization, and the decisions he may make as President of the United States.
Dear Mr. President, you are not America. There is a difference between a country and that country’s President!