So conservatives’ latest argument is, “Well, sure, Donald Trump Jr., a high-ranking member of his dad’s campaign, took a meeting with a representative of our nation’s top global adversary explicitly to aid its government’s secret plot to undermine our election, but Crooked Hillary Clinton, whom Trump Jr. once called ‘the most corrupt candidate in American history,’ did something similar with a country that is not our sworn enemy, so it’s okay then, right? Right?”
Donald Trump famously said that he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and not lose any supporters. You can bet that if he did, Sean Hannity would lead his next show with new developments in the Vince Foster case. (And if Trump murdered fewer than four people, you’d see a slick bar graph representing the number of Americans who died in Benghazi, and it would tower over the graph showing Trump’s paltry bag limit of mercilessly slaughtered Tiffany’s shoppers.)
Two nights ago, Hannity invited Trump Jr. on his show for a hard-hitting interview/tickle fight. If Hannity had literally thrown marshmallows at Trump Jr. while the latter ran around the studio in a giant plexiglass hamster ball, the interview would have been no less revealing. (And not toasted marshmallows, for God’s sake — those could take an eye out.)
But before the interview, Hannity took some time to excuse Trump Jr.’s actions by informing his viewers that Hillary Clinton — again, the most corrupt candidate in the 241-year history of our nation — also sought information from a foreign government.
Hannity cited a January Politico story that claimed a DNC consultant had worked with the Ukrainian embassy to research Paul Manafort, who had served for a time as Trump’s campaign manager. The operative then allegedly shared her findings with the DNC and the Clinton campaign. Hannity laid out the details of the story and asked his viewers to decide “which is worse?” (Shockingly, this has also been a White House talking point, but who really knows where Hannity got wind of it?)
Hannity also wondered why the media hadn’t run wild with the Politico story, like they have with the Russia-Trump coverage. The fact that the story ran on January 11, 2017, and Hillary Clinton was not president-elect at the time and probably never will be apparently didn’t occur to him, but the dense one’s casuistry was likely convincing enough to allow his viewers to sleep soundly for at least one more night.
Of course, the next day The Washington Post eviscerated Hannity’s and the White House’s argument, noting that these cases weren’t even remotely the same. For one thing, Ukraine wasn’t involved in a systematic effort to undermine our elections. For another, the consultant was not part of the Ukrainian government, and the Clinton campaign never sought to work directly with Ukraine. And, oh, Ukraine isn’t our enemy. Also, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, HILLARY CLINTON IS NOT PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES! Let. It. Go.
Oh, but they never will.
For example, on Tuesday, Ted Cruz — who, to the eternal chagrin of no one except Ted Cruz, is still just a senator because not enough people wanted to crawl into the back of the windowless white van that was the Ted Cruz for President campaign — tried to defend Trump by invoking the specters of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.
Here was the exchange between Cruz and NBC News’ Kasie Hunt:
Hunt: “Is Russia an enemy of the United States?”
Cruz: “Russia is a significant adversary. Putin is a KGB thug.”
Hunt: “Do you think that Trump is treating them that way?”
Cruz: “I think that we have had eight years of Barack Obama showing nothing but appeasement towards Russia.”
Hunt: “President Trump is not appeasing Russia?”
Cruz: “Part of the irony of this media obsession with Russia is that the Obama administration began with Hillary Clinton bringing a big red reset button to Russia.”
Geez, seriously? What do Trump and Putin have to do to prove to Republicans that their relationship is a little too cozy? Sit in twin bathtubs staring at the sunset like in those Cialis commercials?
It’s about time Republicans let the Hillary thing go and focus on getting their own house in order. If not, they should at least consider changing their tagline from “The Party of Lincoln” to “I know you are, but what am I?”