It’s encouraging to see U.S. Rep. Lloyd Smucker and U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey standing up to President Donald Trump.
U.S. Sen. Bob Casey did so too, but it’s easy for a Democrat to stand up to a Republican president. Mr. Smucker and Mr. Toomey are both Republicans, so it took some political courage.
Mr. Smucker and Mr. Toomey both issued statements after Mr. Trump said on Monday, July 16, that he accepted Russian President Vladmir Putin’s claim that his government had nothing to do with meddling in the 2016 election. Mr. Trump backed off the next day, saying he accepted U.S. intelligence agencies’ conclusion that the Russian government did meddle in our election, but the legislators’ statements that came out right after Mr. Trump’s remarks are worth noting.
The statement released by Mr. Smucker’s officesaid, in its entirety: “Safe, secure, and soundelections are critical to our democracy. Ourintelligence community is filled with men andwomen determined to protect the United States from both foreign and domestic threats. Because of their hard work, we know that Russia interfered in our 2016 election in an attempt to dismantle
the integrity of our democratic system and sow divisions throughout our country. President Trump must acknowledge this fact, stand up to President Putin, and act. Failing to do so will only encouragefurther attempts to infiltrate our elections.”
It is unfortunate that Mr. Smucker did not say specifically what actions he thought Mr. Trump should take, but the statement was noteworthy nonetheless. Thankfully, Mr. Toomey did get more specific.
“President Trump’s blindness to Vladimir Putin’s hostile acts against the United States and our allies – election meddling included – is very troubling. … Putin insists that the Russian government has nothing to do with meddling in our elections. In that case, he should not object to the hackers recently indicted being brought to justice. Absent his cooperation in achieving that justice, the United States should impose tough new sanctions on Russia.”
Mr. Toomey is correct. If Mr. Putin does notcooperate in getting the Russians who were indicted days earlier to the United States to face trial, sanctions are the way to go. The embargo imposed on Cuba is an example
of what our country can do when it gets serious about punishing another country. Meddling with our democracy is far more of a provocation than Cuba’s 1960 nationalization of oil refineries without compensation.
The preceding editorial is the opinion of The Elizabethtown Advocate. Other opinions on this page are those of individual contributors. The Advocate aims to give its readers a wide variety of opinions.