Undermining the left’s claim that Vladimir Putin has, in Donald Trump, a Moscow-friendly comrade who now owes Russia some favors in return for their help in the election, Kremlin-sponsored media outlets have begun to turn on the new American president.
In recent days, both Sputnik and Russia Today have published articles slamming the current state of the U.S. under President Trump. But while it might seem like an extraordinary turnaround, given the Moscow media’s favoritism towards Trump in the election, international experts say it’s proof that this scandal was never what it looked like.
“The Russian government is savoring the severe damage to America’s international image as a result of the tumultuous first weeks of the Trump administration’s tenure,” former White House NSC official Andrew Weiss told Politico. “The original Russian state-controlled media fixation on Trump was that he was this destroying angel who would damage the established monopoly of two leading US political parties and lead a crusade against ‘bankrupt’ American elites.”
This is in line with what the intelligence community was saying last October, when the general belief was that Putin was solely interested in sowing division and chaos when he ordered the cyberattacks against the Democratic National Committee. Since then, however, the Democrats have vaulted past that assessment to allege that Trump is guilty of nothing less than treason, having colluded with the Russians in a conspiracy against the U.S. democratic system.
But Politico notes that Trump’s ascension to the presidency coincided with a sharp turn in Russia’s coverage of the billionaire:
Russian coverage of Trump himself took a more critical turn almost immediately after his inauguration. “Trump Draws Noticeably Smaller Inauguration Crowd Than Predecessor,” Sputnik headlined on January 21.
Other stories in various Russian outlets have spotlighted Trump’s dismal poll numbers, criticized his immigration crackdown, and even made fun of his handshake. Russian television has replayed biting Saturday Night Live sketches spoofing the new president.
It would not surprise us if Russia’s ultimate goal turned out to be Trump’s impeachment. They want to see our government collapse in a storm of confusion and finger-pointing – a scenario they can then use to tell their own citizens that the West’s love for democracy is misguided. And by chasing down and publicizing every nothingburger story about meetings with the Russian ambassador, the Democrats and the American media are playing right into Putin’s hands.