Between playing golf, watching television, promoting QAnon content, and meeting with his defense attorneys, Donald Trump is probably quite busy. But this morning, the former president published a missive in which he suggested he was prepared to help lead diplomatic negotiations between Russia and Ukraine.
No, really. The Republican used his Twitter-like platform to offer advice to U.S. leaders, whom he referred to as “U.S. ‘Leadership’” as part of a lazy attempt at disrespecting his own country’s elected officials. After saying the “catastrophe” wouldn’t have happened if he were in office — a claim even his former White House national security advisor doesn’t take seriously — Trump wrote:
“Be strategic, be smart (brilliant!), get a negotiated deal done NOW. Both sides need and want it. The entire World is at stake. I will head up group???”
I’m going to go out on a limb and predict that the Biden administration will not reach out to Trump anytime soon, asking about his availability to head up a diplomatic team.
But what’s amazing about the former president’s suggestion is his assumption that he has the wherewithal and credibility necessary to negotiate an end to the war.
He does not.
Right off the bat, the most obvious problem is that even if Trump had skills in international diplomacy — he most certainly does not — he couldn’t be seen as a credible arbiter. As anyone who’s been awake in recent years knows, the former president spent four years going to almost comical lengths to make Vladimir Putin happy, to the point that his own director of national intelligence later admitted he feared Trump had been compromised by the Kremlin.
He also launched an illegal extortion scheme that targeted Ukraine, leaving the country weakened ahead of Putin’s invasion. If you were in Kiev, would you see Trump as a trustworthy intermediary?
Complicating matters is how the Republican responded to the Russian invasion. In case anyone needs a refresher, the former president described Putin’s attack on Ukraine as “genius” and “very savvy.” Soon after, Trump kept going, issuing a written statement touting Putin and admonishing his own country’s president. At a Mar-a-Lago event a few days after the start of the war, Trump again told an assembled audience how “smart” Putin was for launching this offensive.
In the days that followed, Trump used a lot of passive-voice descriptions of the Russian invasion, characterizing the war as if it were a natural disaster, for which no one is to blame, instead of a deliberate and unprovoked attack.
At one point, the former president said there were “things” President Joe Biden could do to end the crisis “pretty quickly,” but when Trump got around to sharing specific ideas, they included a suggestion that the United States could put Chinese flags on our F-22 fighter jets. This was not smart.
There are probably worse people to try to negotiate an agreement between Ukrainians and Russians, but not many.