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Trump Is No Navalny, and Biden Is No Putin

Susan Estrich on

Donald Trump has been outrageously silent about the brutal murder of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny. No, correct that. Silence would have been outrageous. Comparing himself to the slain hero is beyond outrageous. Trump, and his supporters, have had the audacity to compare Trump's indictment by four grand juries to the imprisonment and death of the Russian who has dared to stand up to Vladmir Putin. How dumb do they think we are? How callous and short-sighted, how ignorant and cruel, are they?

Trump is besotted with Putin. There was a time when conservatives were outspoken in their criticism of the "evil empire." There was a time when liberal Democrats were criticized as being too soft on Communism. No more. Tucker Carlson fawns on the Soviet leader. Trump invites him to do what he wants to our allies. The world has turned topsy-turvy. You read the quotes and shake your head.

This is what Newt Gingrich says. Navalny's death "is a brutal reminder that jailing your political opponents is inhumane and a violation of every principle of a free society. Watch the Biden Administration speak out against Putin and his jailing of his leading political opponent while Democrats in four different jurisdictions try to turn President Trump into an American Navalny. The hypocrisy and corruption of the left is astonishing."

"An American Navalny"? The corruption of the left? What does the false equivalence say about the corruption of the American right? Is he really comparing the American judicial system, in which no one (other than Trump, if you listen to his garbage) is above the law, with an Arctic gulag in which torture is practiced as punishment, without the benefit of a judge and jury, without any hint of justice or principle?

Ask Tucker Carlson, who condones it. Asked in Dubai about Putin's treatment of Navalny (and why he didn't ask Putin about it when Navalny was still alive), he said, "Every leader kills people. Some kill more than others. Leadership requires killing people." He gave him permission. Ironically, when Trump's own lawyer was asked if the absolute immunity he has been seeking in our courts would cover Trump's ordering political assassination, he gave virtually the same answer, that it would unless he was impeached and convicted.

Dinesh D'Souza, the conservative writer, equates Biden and Putin, and Trump and Navalny. "The plan of the Biden regime (regime?) and the Democrats is to ensure their leading political opponent dies in prison. There's no real difference between the two cases." No real difference between a man who died fighting against a dictator and one who makes a mockery of the rule of law, between one who stands against a dictator and one who incites insurrection?

 

The first time Trump so much as mentioned Navalny's tragic murder was in the context of his own legal problems. "The sudden death of Alexei Navalny has made me more and more aware of what is happening in our Country," he said on social media, referring to his own legal problems. This is what Navalny brings to mind for Donald Trump? Not the horrors of tyranny and autocracy, but the Don's self-pity? His self-serving grievances?

The Navalny murder unmasks Trump as the coddling narcissist that he is. Everything is about him. He is the victim. To compare his prosecution by judges and juries, acting under the rule of law, to the brutal persecution of the courageous Russian leader, is to turn everything on its head. Shame on Trump and his defenders. They have no decency and no shame.

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To find out more about Susan Estrich and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.


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