THE BLOG

Donald Trump's Orphan Problem

With their loose-lipped talk about Russian orphans, Trump and senior members of his team continue to paint themselves as both incompetent and dishonest.

07/27/2017 14:34 EDT | Updated 07/27/2017 14:37 EDT
Yuri Gripas / Reuters
U.S. President Donald Trump and Senior Advisor Jared Kushner attend an expanded bilateral meeting with Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri at the White House in Washington, U.S., July 25, 2017.

Think of the children!

Motherhood, apple pie, orphaned children; surely there's no danger here for the unwitting politician, or even the completely inept non-politician shoved totally unprepared into global politics by some horrible mistake of history.

And yet, with their loose-lipped talk about Russian orphans, Trump and senior members of his team continue to paint themselves as both incompetent and dishonest.

Jared Kushner's prepared Senate testimony stated:

"I arrived at the meeting a little late. When I got there, the person who has since been identified as a Russian attorney was talking about the issue of a ban on U.S. adoptions of Russian children. I had no idea why that topic was being raised and quickly determined that my time was not well-spent at this meeting."

He attended a meeting with people he did not know to discuss he knew not what, and when adoptions came up he had no idea — no idea! — why that topic was being raised. He then says he messaged an aide to say "Can u pls call me on my cell? Need excuse to get out of meeting."

Similarly, Donald Trump Jr. tweeted his emails about the meeting with commentary, including that the meeting was "primarily" about "a program about the adoption of Russian children." He added, strangely, that this "was not a campaign issue at that time," as though in some worlds scandals and investigations precede the wrongdoings.

In his interview with the New York Times, Donald Trump himself claimed he had a 15-minute dinner meeting with Vladimir Putin during the G20 at which they exchanged pleasantries and discussed adoption of Russian children (most accounts put the meeting at an hour, which other leaders considered an inexplicable snub).

Why is this amazing?

Of course, it means Trump, his son, and his son-in-law (his chief advisor) are more-or-less heartless human beings who don't even care about the plight of orphans, or children, or puppies, and that the man tasked with fixing U.S. government and brokering Middle East peace does not bother to read emails or prepare for meetings with foreign officials.

Joshua Roberts / Reuters
White House Senior Adviser Jared Kushner speaks to members of the White House press following his appearance before a closed session of the Senate Intelligence Committee as part of their probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election in Washington, U.S. July 24, 2017.

More importantly, it means they are each so ignorant of foreign policy that they do not know the shutdown of adoptions was Russian retaliation for the Magnitsky Act, a bipartisan effort to target sanctions at Russia's oligarchs.

They were discussing state policy and Russian sanctions, and they didn't even know it.

Moreover, months later, when they are in government and in charge of the State Department, they are still using "talking about Russian adoptions" as if it's both an excuse for their clandestine meetings and a mystifying non sequitur — as if they not only didn't know anything, but still don't know anything, about U.S.-Russia policy.

They keep claiming they were talking orphans as if it's an excuse. But it's an admission they were discussing state policy prior to the inauguration, that they didn't even know it, and that they were disappointed because all they wanted was dirt on Hillary Clinton.

It's also an admission that each and every one of themapproached these meetings with the staggering hubris that can only come from spectacular ignorance both of the subject at hand and their own serious shortcomings, and that nothing that has happened since then has caused them to question their grossly misplaced self-confidence.

Follow HuffPost Canada Blogs on Facebook

Also On HuffPost: