Editorial Boards Condemn Trump's "Beyond Reckless" Call For Russia To Hack Clinton's Emails

Editorial Boards Condemn Trump's "Beyond Reckless" Call For Russia To Hack Clinton's Emails

››› ››› NINA MAST

Editorial boards across the nation condemned Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s “frightening” and “beyond reckless” comments that he “hope[s]” Russian hackers would find Hillary Clinton’s private emails. The boards wrote that Trump’s remarks “border on treason” and “jeopardize[] national security.”

During Press Conference, Trump Said He “Hope[s]” Russia Will Find Clinton Emails

Trump Tells Russia He Hopes They Hacked Hillary Clinton’s Email. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump said in a July 27 press conference “that he hoped Russian intelligence services had successfully hacked Hillary Clinton’s email, essentially urging a foreign adversary to conduct cyberespionage against a former secretary of state,” according to The New York Times. From the report:

Donald J. Trump said on Wednesday that he hoped Russian intelligence services had successfully hacked Hillary Clinton’s email, and encouraged them to publish whatever they may have stolen, essentially urging a foreign adversary to conduct cyberespionage against a former secretary of state.

“Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing,” Mr. Trump said, staring directly into the cameras. “I think you will probably be mightily rewarded by our press.”

Mr. Trump’s call was an extraordinary moment at a time when Russia is being accused of meddling in the U.S. presidential election. His comments came amid questions about the hacking of the Democratic National Committee’s computer servers, which researchers have concluded was likely the work of two Russian intelligence agencies.

Later in the news conference, when asked if he was really urging a foreign nation to hack into the private email server of Mrs. Clinton, or a least meddle in the nation’s elections, he dismissed the question. “That’s up to the president,” Mr. Trump said, before finally telling the female questioner to “be quiet — let the president talk to them.” [The New York Times, 7/27/16]

Editorial Boards Across The Country Call Trump’s Move “Beyond Reckless,” “Plainly Outrageous,” And “Border[ing] On Treason”

NY Times: “Mr. Trump Crossed A New Line.” The New York Times' editorial board wrote that Trump’s remarks yesterday “call into question Mr. Trump’s commitment to democracy, his understanding of what it means to be commander in chief and his fitness to lead.” The board concluded that “It grows ever harder to imagine that he could honor the high office to which he aspires.” From the July 28 editorial:

On Wednesday, Mr. Trump crossed a new line by practically inviting Russia, an increasingly aggressive American adversary, to interfere in the presidential election by cyberspying on Hillary Clinton’s email correspondence when she was secretary of state. “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing,” Mr. Trump told a news conference. “I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.” And this came just days after fingers started pointing at Russia as the possible culprit in the hacking of Democratic National Committee computers holding emails that became public.

[...]

It is not treason. It is constitutionally protected free speech. Nonetheless, the remarks further call into question Mr. Trump’s commitment to democracy, his understanding of what it means to be commander in chief and his fitness to lead. He was, in effect, urging Russia to commit a crime that would damage national security.

[...]

The bizarre affinity for Mr. Putin is just one reason to question Mr. Trump’s judgment. He has endorsed waterboarding, even though it is illegal; he has argued for retaliating against political enemies and journalists; and he has proposed excluding people from America based on their religion. It grows ever harder to imagine that he could honor the high office to which he aspires. [The New York Times, 7/28/16]

Wash. Post: Donald Trump’s Invitation Of “A Russian Cyberattack Of His Opponent” Is “One More Reason Mr. Trump Must Not Acquire The Powers Of The Presidency.” The Washington Post's editorial board criticized Trump for “openly appealing” to Russia “to tip the U.S. election,” and cited Trump’s comments as “more evidence of why Mr. Putin might be eager to support him.” From the July 28 editorial:

Donald Trump, on the other hand, is inviting more such interference. “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing,” he said at a news conference, referring to messages that were deleted from Hillary Clinton’s private server. No, he wasn’t joking, as apologist Newt Gingrich suggested; Mr. Trump later repeated the suggestion in a tweet.

Let’s be clear about what this means: The Republican candidate for president has invited a hostile foreign power to conduct an unlawful cyberattack against his opponent and to make public emails she deemed personal and private. Washington has been wondering whether Mr. Putin is attempting to tip the U.S. election to Mr. Trump. Now Mr. Trump is openly appealing to him to do so.

[...]

Mr. Trump did provide more evidence of why Mr. Putin might be eager to support him. After repeating his disparagements of the NATO alliance, he was asked if his administration would lift sanctions on Russia and recognize its annexation of Crimea, the Ukrainian territory that it invaded and occupied in 2014. “We’ll be looking at that. Yeah, we’ll be looking,” Mr. Trump responded, suggesting a stark reversal of the stance taken by the United States and its European allies. You could almost hear the champagne corks popping in the Kremlin.

Once again, Mr. Trump’s position is diametrically opposed to that of his own party’s leaders. A spokesman for House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (Wis.) said “Russia is a global menace led by a devious thug,” and Mr. Putin “should stay out of this election.” We’ve already cited Mr. Pence, who was only restating what, until now, has been the common position of U.S. political leaders from left to right: Cyberattacks by foreign governments such as Russia and China against U.S. industry, government and other sensitive targets are unacceptable and must be resisted. There should, indeed, be “serious consequences” for Russia if it is found responsible for the DNC hack. And voters should take note of one more reason Mr. Trump must not acquire the powers of the presidency. [The Washington Post, 7/27/16]

Des Moines Register: Trump’s Call For Russian Cyberattack Was A “Staggering, Breathtaking Display Of Profound Ignorance And Unbridled Ego.” The Des Moines Register’s editorial board called Trump’s remarks a “stunning and unforeseeable turn of events” and argued that “his pursuit of the presidency continues to pose a clear and present danger to the United States.” From the July 27 editorial:

It was a stunning and unforeseeable turn of events in which this nation’s Republican nominee for president publicly encouraged a foreign power and one of America’s most troublesome adversaries to engage in espionage targeting a former secretary of state.

Later, when asked by a reporter whether he was seriously hopeful that a foreign nation would engage in cybertheft by stealing and disclosing Clinton’s emails, Trump said, cryptically, “That’s up to the president.” Then, for good measure, he admonished the reporter, telling her to "be quiet."

[...]

When Richard Nixon famously — and wrongly — declared, “I am not a crook,” he was smart enough to understand that theft is bad, and that it’s not something to be openly encouraged or endorsed.

Trump appears to lack that sort of basic cognitive ability, even where matters of national security are concerned. Either that, or whatever intellect he does possess is simply overwhelmed by his ego.

Either way, his pursuit of the presidency continues to pose a clear and present danger to the United States. [The Des Moines Register, 7/27/16]

St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Trump’s Remarks Are “Stunning” “Even For A Man Famous For Blurting Out Whatever Is On His Mind.” The St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s editorial board wrote that Trump’s comments “make your jaw drop,” and noted that Trump “did nothing to allay fears about his ties to Russia.” From the July 27 editorial:

Some days the things that Donald Trump says make your jaw drop. Wednesday was one of those days.

In a news conference at a golf course he owns in Doral, Fla., the Republican presidential nominee urged Russia to mount a cyberattack on a U.S. computer system. What’s a little espionage among friends?

“Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you can find the 33,000 emails that are missing,” Trump said, urging Russian hackers to crack the private server at Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s Chappaqua, N.Y., home. “I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.”

Even for a man famous for blurting out whatever is on his mind, this is stunning. Trump essentially is betting that U.S. voters are more concerned with the emails Clinton deleted in 2014 — she claimed they dealt with personal matters like yoga classes and her daughter’s wedding — than they are with Russian state espionage. [St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 7/27/16]

The News Journal: “Trump's Russia Remarks Border On Treason.” The News Journal's editorial board called out Trump’s remarks, asserting that board members would “go so far to question his credentials as an American.” The board added that Trump’s conduct “approaches treasonous” behavior. From the July 27 editorial:

In the wake of Donald Trump’s press conference Wednesday, we believe his Republican bona fides are superficial, at best.

We’d go so far to question his credentials as an American.

[...]

For an American presidential candidate to call on a foreign power to commit a crime against another American so he can win an election approaches treasonous conduct, in our minds.

[...]

Instead, in a matter of seconds on Wednesday, a man who insists he can represent millions of hard-working Americans tromped upon the values for which they and their forefathers have fought and died.

[...]

But Trump is so desperate to become the next president, he’ll do anything to prove Clinton is a criminal.

That includes betraying the country he claims to care so much about. [The News Journal, 7/27/16]

Dallas Morning News: Trump’s Remark Was “Plainly Outrageous” And “Jeopardizes National Security.” The Dallas Morning News' editorial board called Trump’s remarks “bizarre and dangerous,” and “plainly outrageous,” noting they “jeopardize[] national security.” The board added that“what the world is hearing is a man demonstrating that he is unfit to sit in the Oval Office.” From the July 27 editorial:

Debating what Clinton should or shouldn't have done with her emails is fair political game. Wishing that a foreign power compromise the United States, even if in jest,  jeopardizes national security.   

[...]

Trump's not a reality show performer anymore. He's one election away from the White House, and as such, anything that comes out of his mouth has consequences.

Words have meaning. The world is listening. And what the world is hearing is a man demonstrating that he is unfit to sit in the Oval Office.

Regardless of how Trump says he meant it, a presidential candidate seeming to bless a foreign power and adversary to spy on the United States and a political rival is plainly outrageous. Ronald Reagan rightly took heat for his "we begin bombing in five minutes" joke caught on an open mike as he was preparing to make his weekly Saturday radio address. It was clearly a joke not intended for public consumption. Presidents and would-be presidents must show restraint.

[...]

It is frightening that Trump can't control himself and treats public appearances as an open mike session at a comedy night. The presidency is a post for an adult, not a guy who can't control his mouth. [The Dallas Morning News, 7/27/16]
 

San Francisco Chronicle: Trump’s Remarks “Cross The Bounds Of Outrageousness.” The San Francisco Chronicle’s editorial board wrote that Trump “continues to cross the bounds of outrageousness in a way not seen in modern times,” calling Trump’s comments “his latest blast of irresponsibility.” The board warned, “Donald Trump seems to crave attention at any cost. And there are costs when an American leader openly advocates a lawless act by a foreign power.” From the July 27 editorial:

Donald Trump just can’t seem to help himself. Even after securing the Republican nomination for president of the United States, the real estate mogul and reality TV star continues to cross the bounds of outrageousness in a way not seen in modern times from a candidate with even a remote chance of winning, let alone from one who is leading in national polls.

His latest blast of irresponsibility came Wednesday with his invitation to Russian hackers to find the more than 30,000 emails that were deleted from the private email server Hillary Clinton used while she was secretary of state.

[...]

Donald Trump seems to crave attention at any cost. And there are costs when an American leader openly advocates a lawless act by a foreign power. [San Francisco Chronicle, 7/27/16]

LA Times: It “Boggles The Mind” That Trump Would “Urge Foreign Hackers To Break Into U.S. Networks.” The Los Angeles Times' editorial board wrote that it “boggles the mind” that a presidential candidate would “urge foreign hackers to break into U.S. networks,” adding “what we’re seeing is a man with little apparent impulse control running for a job that requires the most unflappable of temperaments.”  From the July 27 editorial:

Imagine what Trump’s reaction would have been if Clinton had said she hoped the Russians would sneak into the IRS and steal copies of his tax returns. But it is inconceivable that she would say such a thing. Trump simply refuses to acknowledge that the words of a president — or someone who may soon become one — carry enormous weight and cannot be easily taken back. That’s why it is so appalling that he idly claims as fact so many things that aren’t actually true, that he routinely pledges to violate the Constitution, that he blithely calls for foundational defense treaties to be reinterpreted.

[...]

So far, Trump’s talk-first, ponder-later approach hasn’t hurt him with his supporters. They seem to see him as a mold-breaker, blunt and honest regardless of where the chips fall. But what we’re seeing is a man with little apparent impulse control running for a job that

requires the most unflappable of temperaments, someone who seems to believe that no statement, no matter how outrageous, is out of bounds as long as it grabs the attention that fuels his irresponsible campaign. [Los Angeles Times7/27/16]

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