Margaret Sullivan/WaPo:

Trump joking with Putin over eliminating journalists is a betrayal of America. So is ignoring it.

In the past couple of weeks, President Trump has accused the New York Times of “a virtual act of treason” because of an accurate story he didn’t like. It reported that the United States “is stepping up digital incursions into Russia’s electric power grid.”

And he’s been credibly accused of rape by a well-known magazine journalist, to which he responded that it never happened and what’s more, she was “not my type.”

Apparently deadened by the constant barrage of outrages and scandals surrounding him, Congress and many Americans don’t seem to care about any of it.

So there’s absolutely no reason to think that what happened between the president of the United States and Russian leader Vladi­mir Putin on Friday will make a difference or change minds.

But it really should.

According to Bloomberg News reporter Jennifer Jacobs, who was traveling with the president to the G-20 summit in Osaka, Trump “bonded with Putin” over his scorn for journalists. She quoted their exchange in a tweet:

“Get rid of them. Fake news is a great term, isn’t it?” Trump said. “You don’t have this problem in Russia, but we do.


This entire Pacific trip has been about Trump’s belief that personal relationships between leaders is what determines foreign policy. That belief is supported by the optics and only contradicted by what’s actually been agreed to on this trip.

— Daniel W. Drezner (@dandrezner) June 30, 2019