Trump’s Defense Secretary seemed to undermine the narrative that Putin was a poor victim of mean Democrats when he said there was little doubt they had interfered with elections.
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Thursday at NATO headquarters he has “little doubt” Moscow has tried interfering in democratic elections, while also rebuffing calls for renewed military cooperation with Russia.
“Russia is going to have to prove itself first,” Mattis told reporters, adding it is premature to talk about cooperating militarily with Moscow.
Amid rising evidence that Russia has begun interfering in several upcoming European elections using a strategy of leaked emails and ‘fake’ news, Mattis gave a blunt response when asked if he thinks Russia did the same thing in the U.S. election.
“There is very little doubt they have either interfered or attempted to interfere in elections of democracies,” Mattis said in Brussels.
Ironically, Trump was ripping apart that narrative in the crazy press conference today, and on his Twitter account:
This is very odd when coupled with the revelation from Sean Spicer that they’ll be demanding Russia return the Crimea back to Ukraine. It’s almost as if Trump will persist in his fantasies, but doesn’t care that his cabinet forges ahead in contradiction to his statements. And that’s.. a good thing. I think.
After this, the Russians responded, angrily, and Mattis pretty much said screw you, Russkies!
Mattis, who has previously accused Russia of trying to break the NATO alliance, told a closed-door session of NATO on Wednesday that it needed to be realistic about the chances of restoring a cooperative relationship with Moscow.
He cited Moscow’s 2014 annexation of Crimea from Ukraine, which plunged U.S.-Russia relations to a post-Cold War low. Mattis said NATO needed “negotiate from a position of strength” as he called for stepped up military spending.
That prompted a terse reply from Russia’s Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu. “Attempts to build a dialogue with Russia from a position of strength would be futile,” he was quoted as saying by TASS news agency.
Mattis shot back: “I have no need to respond to the Russian statement at all. NATO has always stood for military strength and protection of the democracies and the freedoms we intend to pass on to our children.”
I am shocked and surprised by this, not because Mattis isn’t of the character of the kind of person who would do this, but because Trump apparently put this guy in and doesn’t know, or doesn’t care, that he’s going against much of what Trump promised.
Either Trump was bluffing about what he said about NATO to fool Putin, or he has no clue what Mattis is doing. Either way, I am about a million times happier that Mattis is directing U.S. foreign policy about NATO instead of following Trump’s promises.
Of course, Moscow-owned media propaganda “Russian Today” loved Trump’s comments about getting along:
And our own media and Democrats are completely ignoring what Mattis is doing and saying. It’s almost as if they’re more interested in destroying Trump than they are about our defense operating wisely….