The Lincoln Project, an outfit made up of Republican communications and campaign strategists including George Conway, the husband of senior adviser to president Trump Kellyanne, have dropped some pretty tough broadcast and digital ads on Trump.
One released recently was pretty devastating. It featured Dr. Dan Barkhuff, a Naval Academy graduate, former Navy SEAL, combat veteran, Harvard Medical School grad and an emergency medicine physician and professor at the University of Vermont who said he’s also pro-life and a gun owner.
“Any commander-in-chief with a spine would be stomping the living s*** out of some Russians right now, diplomatically, economically or if necessary with the sort of asymmetric warfare they're using to send our kids home in body bags,” declared Barkhuff in the ad. “Mr. Trump, you're either a coward who can't stand up to an ex-KGB goon or you're complicit. Which is it?”
There’s no good answer, of course.
Like most of us, Barkhuff read multiple credible news reports that Russian President Vladimir Putin paid cash bounties to the Taliban for killing American servicemen and women, the money reportedly doled out by a shady Afghan middleman. Trump was briefed on Putin’s blood money payoffs in February and former national security adviser John Bolton said he told Trump about the murderous scheme last year.
The president did nothing, as Barkhuff charges, while again demonstrating all roads lead from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue to the Kremlin. Trump first called the stories a “hoax,” then he claimed he was never briefed, but intelligence officials confirm he was.
I have no doubt that when Trump is finally out of office, we will know the full extent of the reasons this president has been so solicitous of Putin. It’s only a matter of time, but it’s time those servicemen and women killed as a result of the bounties no longer have to live their lives.
Erik Hendriks told NBC News his son, Marine Cpl. Robert Hendriks, was killed by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan last year. He said he’d be heartbroken to learn his son was killed for Putin’s bounty.
"Why hasn't anybody called me or my ex-wife to settle us?” he asked. “Isn't it enough the hell we're going through that no one has come forward with anything at all?"
Asked about the bounties on Fox News, Trump toady Sen. Lindsay Graham responded with a “whataboutism,” rehashing the Benghazi tragedy in which four Americans were killed by insurgents at a U.S. outpost in Libya. It has been established by military leaders that everything they could do to get aid to the Americans was done. It just didn’t get there in time.
Dr. Barkhuff leads Veterans for Responsible Leadership and has been critical of Trump in the past, saying on a podcast in 2018, the president is “someone you can’t trust…There is a saying in the military: you can delegate authority, you can’t delegate responsibility. That is true and the current commander in chief…is quick to point fingers at other people when something doesn’t go his way and regularly engages in demonstrably untrue falsehoods.”
A day of reckoning is coming, November 3 to be exact, and a variety of polls, including those in a half dozen key swing states, show Trump losing bigly. The novelty act that got him elected has grown tiresome for voters including many Republicans, who are rejecting Trump’s politics of white grievance and his gross incompetence in handling the COVID 19 outbreak and its economic fallout.
Dr. Barkhuff is spot on. We need a president with a spine.
Kevin Foley owns KEF Media in Atlanta.