In Defying the Odds, we discuss Trump's curious lack of devotion to American principles. His rhetoric is more Putin than Reagan.
Havana has blasted US President Donald Trump’s decision Friday to roll back much of Barack Obama’s policy of rapprochement and imposing new restrictions on Cuba using the pretext of human rights concerns, calling it a case of double standards.
“The United States is not in a position to give us lessons. We have serious concerns about the respect and guarantees of human rights in that country, where there are numerous cases of murders, brutality and police abuses, particularly against the African American population,” the Cuban government said in a statement, published by the Communist Party's official Granma newspaperTrump invited this comeback. It echoes what he himself has said, which in turn echoes Putin.
On September 11, 2013, Putin wrote in The New York Times:
My working and personal relationship with President Obama is marked by growing trust. I appreciate this. I carefully studied his address to the nation on Tuesday. And I would rather disagree with a case he made on American exceptionalism, stating that the United States’ policy is “what makes America different. It’s what makes us exceptional.” It is extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional, whatever the motivation.The next day, Trump told Greta Van Susteren that he agreed with Putin:
And when he criticizes the president for using the term "American exceptionalism," if you're in Russia, you don't want to hear that America is exceptional. And if you're in many other countries, whether it's Germany or other places, you don't want to hear about American exceptionalism because you think you're exceptional. So I can see that being very insulting to the world.
And that's basically what Putin was saying is that, you know, you use a term like "American exceptionalism," and frankly, the way our country is being treated right now by Russia and Syria and lots of other places and with all the mistakes we've made over the years, like Iraq and so many others, it's sort of a hard term to use.
But other nations and other countries don't want hear about American exceptionalism. They're insulted by it. And that's what Putin was saying.On September 27, 2015, Putin told Charlie Rose:
How long did it take the democratic process to develop in the United States? Do you believe that everything is perfect now from the point of view of democracy in the United States? If everything was perfect there wouldn't be the problem of Ferguson. There would be no abuse by the police.On July 21 of last year, Trump told The New York Times:
I think right now when it comes to civil liberties, our country has a lot of problems, and I think it’s very hard for us to get involved in other countries when we don’t know what we are doing and we can’t see straight in our own country. We have tremendous problems when you have policemen being shot in the streets, when you have riots, when you have Ferguson. When you have Baltimore. When you have all of the things that are happening in this country — we have other problems, and I think we have to focus on those problems. When the world looks at how bad the United States is, and then we go and talk about civil liberties, I don’t think we’re a very good messenger.And on February 7 of this year, Trump had this exchange with Bill O'Reilly:
O'REILLY: He is a killer though. Putin is a killer.
TRUMP: There are a lot of killers. Do you think our country is so innocent? Do you think our country is so innocent?
O'REILLY: I don't know of any government leaders that are killers in America.
TRUMP: Take a look at what we have done too. We've made a lot of mistakes. I've been against the war in Iraq from the beginning.
O'REILLY: Yes. Mistakes are different then --
TRUMP: A lot of mistakes, okay? But a lot of people were killed. So, a lot of killers around, believe me.