United States

Feb 15, 2017

Rundle: Trump’s ties to Russia are an outrage. And they won’t hurt his popularity one bit.

What sort of collusion between team Trump and the foreign power of Russia would actually cause his base to question their support of him?

Guy Rundle — Correspondent-at-large

Guy Rundle


The Trump administration is facing a fresh crisis this week, with the resignation of national security adviser Michael Flynn, following a series of leaks establishing that he held discussions with the Russian ambassador to the US, Sergey Kislyak, in December last year, concerning the possibility of ending sanctions against Russia put in place by Barack Obama.

Flynn resigned after leaks to, well, everyone -- but mainly The Washington Post and The New York Times -- made clear that Flynn had had phone discussions with the Russian ambassador to the US in December last year, urging Russia not to retaliate against the sanctions Obama had put in place, following accusations/revelations that Russian agencies were behind the hacking of the emails of the Democrats.

Free Trial

You've hit members-only content.

Sign up for a FREE 21-day trial to keep reading and get the best of Crikey straight to your inbox

By starting a free trial, you agree to accept Crikey’s terms and conditions


Leave a comment

16 thoughts on “Rundle: Trump’s ties to Russia are an outrage. And they won’t hurt his popularity one bit.

  1. zut alors

    Public reaction seems to depend on what’s fashionable at the time. If Trump & Co’s connections to Putin/Russia had been brought to light in the 50s & Trump had been grilled by Joseph McCarthy & HUAC the new administration would be toast. Where’s HUAC just when you need it…

  2. Saugoof

    I don’t want Trump impeached or brought down through a scandal. I don’t even want to have his idiotic and outrageous policies defeated by the courts. All that would just end up in his supporters being able to make excuses where they can blame some shady elites for him not being able to “make America great again”.
    Instead I want Trump to be able to bring through any and all of his proposals. As terrible as this is going to be, I think this is the only thing that will bring him down. The slow realisation of the people who support him now that this guy is nothing but a conman who cares for nothing but himself. The only thing that stops Trump for good is his supporters turning on him. If he gets impeached or resigns, he’ll just get replaced by some other nutcase. I want him to fail spectacularly because of his lies and because of his idiotic promises and because of his fear-mongering. I feel that is the only way that politics will get fixed, we need to reach rock-bottom first.

    1. Dog's Breakfast

      I agree Saugoof, and suspect this is the most likely outcome. I want him to enact his policies. Some of them definitely won’t work, and will be seen not to work, and hopefully that will kill them dead, you know, the way that everyone in Australia now recognises that the LNP are not the better economic managers after yet more years of neoliberal pipe-dreaming.

      Well, sorry, yeah, my analogy falls down a bit there. But you know, it could happen.

      Alternatively, some of his crazy brave ideas might actually get done, and imagine if that brought about prosperity, or the first real growth in a long time. Imagine if punishing firms that outsourced labor led to increased employment, higher wages, etc. I know, crazy, but could happen. Either way the neoliberal dogma takes a stake to the heart.

      It’s not actually Trump I want to see gone, I’m after the irrational economics of neoliberalism. I want their dogmas destroyed, shown entirely to be full of bull. Perhaps then we can start looking at real, rational economics.

      1. Peter Strauss

        Policy debate leads to socialism so it is avoided at all costs.

      2. Lubo Gregor

        I’m worried that if the policies he enacts show as not working it will be another excuse to blame everyone else, create few more enemies and enact even worse policies to ‘deal’ with them. I think he is an exceptional nutcase and a replacement of this mentally and socially sick individual when he is removed will be hard to find.

  3. Liamj

    Can someone ask a right-thinker for the new meaning of “In like Flynn”?

  4. Dog's Breakfast

    True GR, early chaos is not without precedent, almost par for the course. Of interest to me is whether this leads to ongoing chaos, can they stop the madness once they are settled in?

    Look at our government, 2 years of Abbott and a year of Turnbull and there hasn’t been a week in that time where the government looked anything less than chaotic. All that dissonance catching up on them perhaps.

  5. Marilyn J Shepherd

    Hey Guy and other youngsters, the old war is over. Russia and the US are not at war and nor are we with Russia just because some old white liars in the CIA say we should be.

  6. bushby jane

    I don’t think that everyone in Australia thinks that LNP are not the better economic managers. You can fool a lot of people a lot of the time.
    To USA, you have to remember that the majority of those who voted did not vote for Trump, so it would not be a good thing for him to be able to enact all his scary ideas before he comes to grief.

  7. rossco

    Republicans have the numbers in Congress, in both houses. Under more normal circumstances that would give Trump some protection from any move to impeach him. However many (perhaps most) of those Republicans would prefer Pence over Trump. In many areas Pence would be even further to the right than Trump but that is why they like him. Impeach Trump, get Pence. Has to be tempting.

  8. tonysee

    A key idea here is Trump’s ‘popularly’ … it’s in the headline. Notwithstanding the difficulty of interpreting polls, especially where there is optional voting, Trump’s popularity is catastrophically low by any standards, but particularly by the standards of a new president … no ‘honeymoon’ period for Trump.

    Trumps (rusted on) base is quite small and if he keeps on trying to appeal to them, he will further alienate those who voted for him for change sake and, obviously those who didn’t vote for him.

    1. Karen

      The base might desert if the jobs fail to materialise in two or so years time.

  9. Will

    Interesting isn’t it, Guy? The American right has altogether lost any sense of being for America, other than being ‘not liberal’. And you could justifiably say that that’s the fault of the Democrats because, frankly, Bill, Obama and Hillary were never really in it for the American masses they claimed to be for: they were only ever in it for the Democratic Party, which similarly had/has little connection with any sense of being for America. It appears they were simply offering to be ‘not Republicans’.

    But it would remiss here to not raise a serious query. How can a reformist agenda on the Democratic side (or the Labor side here) meaningfully reconnect with the patriotic sensibilities of the masses without descending into repellent ethno-nationalism?

  10. AR

    The pity of ameriKKKa is that it often does the right thing but only after exhausting all other options, opined the half-yank Churchill.
    The disgust felt by the electorate at the choice between the evil of two lessers last year was well demonstrated by the fact that la Klingon garnered more votes than any white man in history & the Drumpf far fewer than even Romney.
    And yet, look who’s in the Tawdry House.
    It is essential that when, not if, the Drumpfster is deposed it does not lead to a ‘knife in the back’ rerun which was the abiding meme in Germany post WWI.
    He will fail, how spectacularly, how many will be hurt in the meantime and who replaces him is the scary question.
    Last year I wondered why Pence had detonated his future political career by taking the VP option but once I saw him, listened to him and read about him, it seemed to be a well thought strategy.
    As noted by many, he is one very nasty bit of work and will make the world a very (much more) scary place.

Share this article with a friend

Just fill out the fields below and we'll send your friend a link to this article along with a message from you.

Your details

Your friend's details