Who are the Russians fooling? The Moscow Times (which otherwise does not appear to be the Russian version of The Onion) reports
The Kremlin has demanded an apology from Fox News host Bill O’Reilly for calling President Vladimir Putin “a killer.”
Presidential Spokesperson Dmitry Peskov called the outburst “unacceptable and offensive.”
O’Reilly made the claim during an interview with U.S. President Donald Trump.
Of course he did, because it's obvious, and O'Reilly could respond only "but he's a killer, though. Putin's a killer" after Trump maintained "I say it’s better to get along with Russia than not. And if Russia helps us in the fight against ISIS, which is a major fight, and Islamic terrorism all over the world — that’s a good thing. Will I get along with him? I have no idea."
The chat proceeded with
Trump: There are a lot of killers. We’ve got a lot of killers. What do you think — our country’s so innocent. You think our country’s so innocent?
O’Reilly: I don’t know of any government leaders that are killers.
Trump: Well — take a look at what we’ve done too. We made a lot of mistakes. I’ve been against the war in Iraq from the beginning.
O’Reilly: But mistakes are different than —
Trump: A lot of mistakes, but a lot of people were killed. A lot of killers around, believe me.
Trump was not "against the war in Iraq from the beginning" but that is, as the grammatically misguided put it, " past history."
More significant is the moral equivalence Trump is trying to establish between the violent authoritarian regime of Vladimir Putin and the United States of America. "Take off that flag lapel pin, you're soiling it," David Frum aptly tweets.
When you spend 4-5 years in the Hanoi Hilton, wearing an American flag lapel pin is unnecessary, as John McCain conspicously- no, inconspicously- demonstrated in the 2008 presidential election campaign. Perhaps Trump should wear half a dozen.
But O'Reilly- he of "the spin stops here"- did not challenge Trump other than pointing out the obvious, which upset the sensitive soul of Vladimir Putin.
But perhaps not of President Trump. "We've got a lot of killers," Trump alleged, and continued "what do you think- our country's so innocent. You think our country's so innocent?"
But Trump is saying only that the USA is not innocent- that it is guilty of something or other. He is not asserting that he disapproves. Digby points us to an excerpt from an interview held with the candidate last March when Trump remarked
Look at what China’s doing in the South China Sea. I mean they are totally disregarding our country and yet we have made China a rich country because of our bad trade deals. Our trade deals are so bad. And we have made them – we have rebuilt China and yet they will go in the South China Sea and build a military fortress the likes of which perhaps the world has not seen. Amazing, actually. They do that, and they do that at will because they have no respect for our president and they have no respect for our country.
Recognizing this as old style, chauvinistic nationalism, Digby responds "So he's going to make them 'respect' us. And then, he'll take what he wants. To the victor belongs the spoils." There is no reason to believe Donald Trump is offended by leaders who are killers, or by colonial powers, or by national leaders who exploit other nations for economic gain.
"If we kept the oil," President Trump recently contended, "you probably wouldn’t have ISIS because that’s where they made their money in the first place. So we should have kept the oil, but, OK, maybe we’ll have another chance.” Now he says "a lot of people were killed. A lot of killers around, believe me." It is not at all clear Mr. Trump disapproves, and no clearer after the "interview" conducted by Bill O'Reilly.