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Letter: GOP leaders share blame with Obama

GOP leaders share blame with Obama

More often than not, I agree with The News’ editorial positions. However, I must take exception to the editorial, “Obama’s failure,” which argued that “Russia’s … meddling in the U.S. election should have triggered a tough reaction.”

A more careful reading of the Washington Post article, “Obama’s struggle to punish Russia,” indicates that President Barack Obama was trying to do the right things, but that Republicans stopped that from happening.

According to the Post, “Obama instructed aides to … seek bipartisan support from congressional leaders for a statement condemning Moscow and urging states to accept federal help,” but that never happened.

As Mark Sumner points out at Daily Kos, “Some Republican leaders in Congress put off even meeting with intelligence officials, delaying the process by weeks.”

Quoting from the Post: “In early September, [former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh] Johnson … arrange[d] meetings with dozens of state officials … but [one] meeting dissolve[d] into partisan bickering. ... The Dems were, ‘Hey, we have to tell the public,’ ” recalled one participant. But Republicans resisted, arguing that to warn the public that the election was under attack would further Russia’s aim of sapping confidence in the system.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell went further, officials said, voicing skepticism that the underlying intelligence truly supported the White House’s claims. Key Democrats were stunned by the GOP response and exasperated that the White House seemed willing to let Republican opposition block any pre-election move.

I agree with Sumner that the “Obama administration treated [the matter with] the security and care that it deserved.”

It would, I think, be more fair to parse blame for inaction equally between Obama and the Republican leadership.

Douglas Aerie


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