Anti-Trump journalists and pundits are giving full vent to xenophobic rhetoric, as the Russia investigation heats up and President Donald Trump shows no sign of slowing down.
For example, in response to Trump’s declaration at a rally in West Virginia on Thursday that “there were no Russians in our campaign, there never were, we won because of you,” Business Insider senior editor and MSNBC contributor Josh Barro tweeted on Thursday: “He literally had a Moscow-born spokesman named Boris Epshteyn.”
He literally had a Moscow-born spokesman named Boris Epshteyn. https://t.co/HYFUf5ozuR
— Josh Barro (@jbarro) August 3, 2017
Epshteyn is a U.S. citizen — i.e. an American — whose family immigrated to the U.S. in 1993, when he was 11 years old. Yet for Barro — and many other Trump critics who made the same observation — the salient fact about Epshteyn is that he was born in Russia, hence a “Russian” for the purposes of the accusation of Russian collusion with the Trump campaign.
On Friday, leading NeverTrump figure Bill Kristol of the Weekly Standard blamed “Russian propaganda” for the recent criticism of National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster in conservative media after he fired several pro-Trump staffers from the National Security Council.
Russian propaganda is engaged in a fierce assault on McMaster, complementing Bannon’s efforts with the media and with Trump. A big moment.
— Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) August 4, 2017
Kristol provided no proof of his assertions.
Some of the strongest criticism of the recent staff shake-ups, in fact, came not from Russia but from Israel, where columnist Caroline Glick warned that the recent firings, which included some pro-Israel staff, were troubling to Israeli observers, and seen as possible signs of a shift in policy.
Last month, Russian President Vladimir Putin dodged criticism for the worsening state of U.S.-Russia relations by noting “anti-Russia hysteria” in America’s domestic politics.
Arguably, that hysteria strengthens Russia’s foreign policy objectives, at the cost of sanity and civility in American democratic debate.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He was named one of the “most influential” people in news media in 2016. He is the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.