On the heels of the World Cup final and the eve of Trump’s summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, in Helsinki, Finland, Hillary Clinton took a jab at her former presidential campaign rival.
She tweeted, “Great World Cup. Question for President Trump as he meets Putin: Do you know which team you play for?”
Cue the flame emoji for a serious political social media burn.
Regardless of whether Clinton expected an answer to her tweeted question, she got one. The President of the United States clearly demonstrated to the world exactly which team he plays for: Russia.
“I have great confidence in my intelligence people, but I will tell you that President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today,” Trump said at a news conference with Putin, regarding his belief that Russia did not interfere in the 2016 presidential election.
His message could not have been clearer: I trust what Putin tells me, despite what the US intelligence community uncovers about Russian election meddling.
Trump has been bashing the US intelligence community from day one of his presidency, famously labeling the Russia investigations as a “witch hunt,” and very publicly feuding with the FBI.
And Trump continues to be dismissive of them even now, despite the comprehensive report by the CIA, NSA, FBI and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, all concluding with “high confidence” that there was Russian interference during the 2016 presidential campaign.
It may seem that Hillary Clinton’s tweet predicted a disappointing display of Trump’s allegiance to Putin, but Trump may just have fulfilled a prophecy that Clinton made before he was even elected president.
During the 2016 presidential campaign, Clinton famously called out Trump, implying that he would be Putin’s “puppet.”
“You encouraged espionage against our people. You are willing to spout the Putin line, sign up for his wish list: break up NATO, do whatever he wants to do,” Clinton said. “You continue to get help from him because he has a very clear favorite in this race.”
And she was right. Trump’s clear anti-NATO remarks have generally aligned with Russia’s sentiment about the organization; his expressions of admiration for Putin have played right into the Russian leader’s hand.
And then came the fated Trump-Putin summit, and Trump’s failure to condemn Russia for the coordinated cyberattacks during the 2016 presidential campaigns. This was particularly bold given that just last week, the Justice Department announced the indictments of 12 Russian intelligence officials for interference in the election. Trump has, once again, proven that Clinton’s prediction was spot on.
Heck, there’s even a #SheWarnedUs hashtag on Twitter documenting all the times Hillary told us how the Trump presidency would pretty much unfold from the get-go.
With Trump’s track record, there was no reason to believe Trump would not, once again, take Russia’s side.
After today’s press conference, Democrats and Republicans are both speaking out against Trump’s comments, with House Speaker Paul Ryan stating that “there is no question that Russia interfered in our elections,” and acknowledging the need to recognize that Russia “is not our ally.”
John Brennan, the former CIA director labeled Trump’s comments “nothing short of treasonous.”
As members of both parties distance themselves from the President’s comments on Putin and are largely still absorbing the shock of having an American president openly side with and embrace a known adversary of his country, the one glaring truth we must all accept is that it was possible to see this coming. And Hillary Clinton did.
After witnessing the summit, Clinton herself had tweeted a response to her initial question: “Well, now we know,” the tweet read.
She knew all along which team Trump would play on – and by now we should, too.