Trump traveled to Europe, attacked longstanding allies, and made veiled threats of abandoning America’s longstanding commitment to NATO. All the while, Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-Costa Mesa), who often brags about his role on the Foreign Affairs Committee, remained silent, refusing to rebuke Trump’s undiplomatic and dangerous actions.
“Trump’s ambush jolted the transatlantic alliance, and some diplomats perceived his comments as threatening a U.S. withdrawal from NATO,” reports the Washington Post.
Former U.S. Ambassador to NATO Nicholas Burns told CNN he thought Trump “treated the NATO allies almost with contempt.”
Former Secretary of State John Kerry said Trump’s actions were “disgraceful, destructive, and fly in the face of the actual interests of the United States of America.”
Trump’s motives are not difficult to suss out, which may be why Rohrabacher remains silent.
“With such attacks, Trump also often appears to be doing Russian President Vladimir Putin’s work for him, by opening divisions in the transatlantic alliance and berating NATO partners,” reports CNN. “It’s a move even more curious ahead of Trump’s Helsinki summit scheduled for Monday with his Russian counterpart.”
“Russia is looking for opportunities,” Lithuanian Defense Minister Raimundos Karoblis said, according to Bloomberg. “We need to be very careful of that.”
Both Trump and Rohrabacher are widely known for their unusually close ties to Russia and Russian dictator Vladimir Putin.
Trump is under investigation for possible collusion with Russia during the 2016 campaign, an investigation that has already resulted in five guilty pleas. Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, remains in jail as he awaits multiple trials for financial crimes uncovered during the course of the investigation.
Rohrabacher regularly earns his nickname of “Putin’s favorite congressman.” He refuses to accept the conclusion that Russia interfered in the 2016 election, preferring to call U.S. intelligence agencies, “liars.” He spews debunked conspiracy theories about emails stolen from the Democratic National Committee rather than admit the truth of Russia’s interference.
His capitulation to Russian propaganda is so pervasive that his own Republican colleagues curtailed his authority on the Foreign Affairs committee.
Even Republicans in his district are concerned about his dangerously close ties to an American adversary. In the primary campaign, Republican Scott Baugh released television ads calling attention to Rohrabacher’s frequent taxpayer-funded trips to Russia.
And now that Trump is weakening America’s alliance with Democracies in Europe — actions that benefit Russia — some Republicans are timidly speaking up.
Yet Rohrabacher remains completely silent.