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Things can get worse, and have

Guest Column

A few weeks ago I wrote a somewhat Pollyanna column expressing hope that President Trump would have a fruitful meeting with Kim Jong-un and lead the way to a somewhat reduced nuclear threat. That’s not what happened — at all. Instead, Trump insulted the G-7 allies before rushing off to meet Kim Jong-un, and all that was accomplished in that meeting was that North Korea won a suspension of U.S.-led military exercises in South Korea. It appears that North Korea is already building up its nuclear arsenal.

Could things get worse?

They could and have.

First, Trump scurried away from the NATO meeting after beating up the allies with demands for money and misrepresenting what was agreed upon. He rushed to Great Britain to meet with British Prime Minister Theresa May. There he proceeded cavalierly to give advice and to criticize her for her handling of Brexit, while she graciously hosted him. Then he rushed off again, this time to hold a private two-hour meeting with Soviet President Vladimir Putin. After the meeting Putin and Trump held a press conference in which our president insulted the work of the U.S. intelligence community and said he believed Putin when he said Russia didn’t interfere in the 2016 presidential elections. Trump the next day lamely tried to walk that back, now saying he supports the work of the intelligence community, believes Russia did try to interfere in the 2016 elections, but still values the strong relationship he has with Putin. Boy does he!

This was evident when he surprised National Intelligence Director Dan Coats while Coats was on the air with MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell, who told him Trump has invited Putin to a second summit in September, this time in the White House. Coats, who laughed nervously at the surprise announcement, said, “Did I hear you? Did I hear you?”…“That is going to be special.”

There have been other developments, including the idea that Russia is saying Trump and Putin have agreed to some new strategy in Syria, which the U.S. seems to know nothing about. He also seems to have agreed to “turn over” a list of people including former Russian Ambassador Michael McCall to the Russian government for interrogation in exchange for some unclear cooperation on the U.S. indictments of 13 Russian high-ranking military leaders.

And now, and now, a so-called Russian agent, Maria Butina, has been jailed without bail on charges of conspiracy and failing to register as a foreign agent, that she infiltrated high levels of government where she frequently posed with members of Congress for selfies. There also have been allegations of sex involved in her infiltration. She was a gun advocate and is said to have become close to high-ranking members of the National Rifle Association, which helped her attend many of their events. There are hints Russian money was filtered through the NRA to choice political candidates. Surely this can’t be happening?

Whose country is this anyway, and when will people wake up and ensure we get to keep it?

Of course, in the meantime, the trade wars threaten to hurt all Americans, including those in America’s bread basket, who comprise much of Trump’s so-called base. Also thousands of immigrant children and parents are still not reunited, and the immigration policy is unresolved. And people in Puerto Rico still need much more attention from the federal government as hurricane season gets underway. Climate change is bringing wildfires and dangerous storms in many places across the country in need of help. And America seems to be paralyzed to help in any of these areas.

Kate McCarty is a resident of San Marcos