In a recent New York Times op-ed, Thomas Friedman sounded the alarm against President Trump and issued a "code red", saying that "the biggest threat to the integrity of our democracy today is in the Oval Office." During an appearance on CNN's New Day Wednesday morning, Friedman doubled down, repeatedly referring to the President as a "disturbed person."
Friedman slammed Trump’s response to Russia’s interference in our elections as “appallingly inept and appallingly basically inactive.” He then seemed to call the legitimacy of the President's election into question, outlining his prescription for how a “real president” would handle the Russia situation.
When anchor Chris Cuomo told Friedman that President Trump says that we interfere in other countries’ elections, Friedman brought up the Cold War and claimed that “this is a qualitatively different moment.” Apparently, he forgot that President Obama’s State Department spent $350,000 of taxpayer money in an effort to unseat Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during his 2015 re-election bid.
Continuing his anti-Trump rant, Friedman blasted the President for violating the norms of the typical president, specifically mentioning “endless tweeting” and “ridiculous childish behavior.” He also claimed that Trump’s response to Russian interference proved that he was “violating his oath of office to protect and defend the Constitution.”
The New York Times published Friedman’s op-ed, titled “Whatever Trump is Hiding is Hurting All of us Now”, exclusively online; in contrast to Friedman’s typical Wednesday column that gets published in the newspaper. Friedman said he “felt really strongly” about it and added that the popularity of the article proves that many people believe the premise of his argument, that “Our President is a disturbed person.” Friedman echoed this language in his piece, suggesting that the President might be a “towering fool” or a “total sucker for Putin” who is “totally compromised by the Russians.” Friedman ended the exchange by saying that had Hillary Clinton “done one of things Donald Trump has done, let alone the whole totality of them, we’d be in impeachment hearings right now.”
A year into the Trump presidency, Trump Derangement Syndrome continues to infect the urban elites at The New York Times. They will not let anything distract them from their core mission, #Impeach45.
CNN New Day
CHRIS CUOMO: The White House says President Trump has had a tougher response to Russian meddling than President Obama did in his entire eight years in office. But New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman says he was appalled by the President’s reaction to indictments against thirteen Russian nationals, writing in a new op-ed “This is code red. The biggest threat to the integrity of our democracy today is in the Oval Office.” Tom Friedman joins us now, author of the best seller “Thank You for Being Late.” Ironic, because he is always on time. Tom, make the case, Code Red. Why?
TOM FRIEDMAN: Well Chris, we just experienced, I would say the biggest threat or challenge to the integrity of our democratic system with the Russian interference in our elections. We now go, know, going back to 2014. And the President’s response to this has been basically appalling. Appallingly inept and appallingly basically inactive. We have to step back, Chris, and say what would a real President be doing in the face of two things. One, our three intelligence chiefs testifying in the last two weeks that not only were the Russians hacking our election, both trying to poison relations between different Americans and tilt the election toward Trump but they are still doing it, our intelligence chiefs told us. They’re the FBI, CIA, and NSA and they plan to do it in the next election. Following that, Mueller issues a report indicting thirteen Russians for that kind of activity and several Russian companies. Now what would a real President do in the face of those two things? He’d do three things. One is he’d give a speech to the country educating every American on what has happened here and what is at stake. Second, he would call together all the stakeholders in the country around our election issues, state and local election officials, the leaders of our two parties, a police and, you know, election authorities and basically, come up with a plan, a defensive plan, to make sure this doesn’t continue to happen. Or if it does, we can insulate our elections from this kind of hacking. And lastly, call together his National Security Advisor and National Security team and say develop for me an offensive plan. That we’ve been sitting here while Putin, for the last four years, basically, has been trying to spread lies that poison our politics and undermine our democracy and I as President want to plan to spread truth about Putin, all the money he stole and all the Russians he’d made disappear in order to undermine his autocracy. That is what a real President would do. And Donald Trump has done none of them. It is appalling.
CUOMO: He questions the premise. He says Russia does this all the time. We do the same thing. He says that the left is just using this to delegitimize his election and that’s why he won’t give it his attention. Do you accept that?
FRIEDMAN: Look, you know, in the Cold War, there is no question we, the Russians, the Chinese, everyone meddled in everyone else’s elections. That was really a world that was a chess board divided between sort of red and red, white and blue. And these weren’t elections. Really half the time, they were about keeping our guys in or their guys in. I think this is a qualitatively different moment. We never intervened in Russia’s elections because Russia didn’t have elections. So we have a real asymmetry here.
CUOMO: Now, the question is why? Why the President is doing this. You have a theory in there, basically a bifurcated theory, right? It’s one of two reasons. Either it’s just ineptitude or he’s hiding something. I want you to explain that. But put some context into it about why it can’t be as simple as his just saying “Russian interference is bad for my legitimacy, for my win so I’m going to be against it.” Why don’t you think it’s that? Why do you think it could be something else?
FRIEDMAN: Chris, let’s start at 30,000 feet. You know, for, for the last year, for the first year plus of Trump’s Presidency, we’ve seen him violate the norms of, of what we think a proper conduct for a President. A massive amounts of lying and misleading statements, endless tweeting, ridiculous childish behavior. We have seen him violate norms of a President. When, when the President of the United States, in the face of public warnings by his three intelligence chiefs, tell us our democratic system is being attacked by a foreign power, when he doesn’t respond to that, that is not violating norms anymore. That’s violating his oath of office to protect and defend the Constitution. And that’s why I call it code red.
CUOMO: So, Tom, just to have people understand what’s, what’s going on here, you wrote this and put it out online. This wasn’t one of the, you know, the typical things that you were putting out in the newspaper and you thought would be getting wide distribution. How surprised were you that something that you put out as a post online went so viral and why do you think that is?
FRIEDMAN: Well, yeah, my usual day for my column is today’s, it’s Wednesday. I wrote that on Monday. I got up in the morning, I read in the paper, I saw what was going on. I felt really strongly about it. I asked my editors if I could write a, a column just online, not in the newspaper and they encouraged me immediately to do it. And the reaction’s been, been for me, overwhelming and it simply tells me that many, many Americans have been feeling the same thing. Chris, people are worried about our country. This is America. Our country is at stake. Our President is a disturbed person. And he’s behaving in ways that are simply inexplicable that tell you that he is either compromised because the Russians have been funding his company in ways that he’s, he would find embarrassing if publicly disclosed. That’s why he hasn’t shown us his tax returns. Or he’s compromised because of, maybe, behavior he engaged in while in Moscow or he is simply a towering fool who is ignoring the advice of his intelligence chiefs being made in public. And when his National Security Advisor is over in Germany at a conference, rather than summoning him home to lead a response to Russia, he rebukes him for not properly, you know, supporting the fact that these things didn’t tip the election. I’m not saying they did tip the election. I have no idea what the impact is, one way or another. What is unacceptable is that this behavior continues and he is not responding. He is not leading a response. That is not Presidential. That’s deeply disturbing behavior. Chris, we are the world. Okay? I say that with no arrogance. That is, you know, we have been the foundation of the global liberal order. If America doesn’t lead, I promise you your kids won’t grow up in a world where China will lead, where Russia will lead. They’ll grow up in a world where nobody will lead. So this is really dangerous. Our President is a disturbed person. And I don’t know what we do about it. Again, when he was violating the norms of the office, we all found it entertaining to some degree or whatever. We were ready to tolerate it. But when he, when he violates the actual, you know, strictures of the office, that is deeply troubling. And what magnifies it is that his party is complicit as well. They’re completely silent in the face of this abhorrent behavior and you know that if Hillary Clinton had done one of the things Donald Trump has done...
CUOMO: ...Oh that’s for sure.
FRIEDMAN: Let alone the whole totality of them, we’d be in impeachment hearings right now. We would be in impeachment hearings right now.