Press: Trump — to Russia with love

Press: Trump — to Russia with love
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You have to wonder: Is there no limit to what Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump retweets personal attacks on Clinton, Pelosi, Abrams Biden swipes at Trump: 'Presidency is about a lot more than tweeting from your golf cart' GOP sues California over Newsom's vote-by-mail order MORE can say and get away with? So often during the campaign, we were certain: That’s it. He’s finally said something so outrageous his supporters will turn against him.

But it never happened. Not when he demeaned war hero John McCainJohn Sidney McCainThe Memo: Activists press Biden on VP choice Biden takes page from Trump with public auditions for VP slot Why Trump, GOP are running into trouble in Arizona MORE: “I like people that weren’t captured.” Nor when he belittled a Gold Star mother: “She was standing there. She had nothing to say. She probably, maybe she wasn’t allowed to have anything to say.” Not when he declared a federal judge incapable of issuing an unbiased opinion because his parents came from Mexico. Not when he invited Russia to hack Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonTrump retweets personal attacks on Clinton, Pelosi, Abrams Biden swipes at Trump: 'Presidency is about a lot more than tweeting from your golf cart' GOP faces internal conflicts on fifth coronavirus bill MORE’s emails, nor when he insisted he actually won the popular vote, nor when he accused Pope Francis of being sympathetic to the Islamic State in Iraq in Syria.

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Had any other candidate said anything close to that, he or she would have been run out of politics by members of their own party. But not Trump. Not the ultimate Teflon candidate who seems able to say anything he wants — no matter how personal, mean, ugly or untrue — and never pay the price.

That is, until now. He dropped a nuclear bomb by suggesting that the United States is the moral equivalent of Vladimir Putin’s Russia.

As part of Super Bowl LI coverage, the president sat down for an interview with Fox News’s Bill O’Reilly. After gently questioning Trump on his “admiration” for Putin, O’Reilly pressed: “He’s a killer, though. Putin’s a killer.” Trump only shrugged: “There are a lot of killers. You think our country’s so innocent?”

Whoa! If that doesn’t disqualify Trump for the White House, what does? No, the United States is not perfect, but in terms of freedoms guaranteed, rights protected, opportunities offered, moral values and the way we treat our own citizens and other nations, Russia’s not even in the same ballpark. 

And for anybody, let alone a president of the United States, to suggest otherwise is outrageous. No president has ever betrayed his own country so totally and so openly. Imagine the cries for impeachment hearings if that old “socialist” Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaThe star of tomorrow: Temptation and a career in politics reporting Blair questions Trump approach to coronavirus pandemic How a global 'Manhattan Project' could end pandemics MORE had said the same thing.

But, this time, Trump went too far, even for members of his own party. “No, I don’t think there’s any equivalency between the way the Russians conduct themselves and the way the United States does,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellPence: Next coronavirus relief bill would need legal shield for businesses GOP faces internal conflicts on fifth coronavirus bill State Department scrutiny threatens Pompeo's political ambitions MORE (R-Ky.) told CNN’s Jake Tapper. And Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioOverwhelming majority of publicly traded firms have not returned small-business loans: review GOP faces internal conflicts on fifth coronavirus bill COVID-19 makes Trump's work with black Americans that much harder MORE (R-Fla.) pointed out the obvious: “When has a Democratic political activist been poisoned by the GOP, or vice versa? We are not the same as Putin.”

For now, Republicans will stick with Trump. But even they must be asking themselves: What does Russia have on him? Video of sexual shenanigans, as that notorious dossier suggested? Big bank loans? The only way to find out is an FBI investigation, as called for by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).

What business ties does Donald Trump have with Russia? The American people have a right to know. And Congress has a duty to find out.

Press is host of “The Bill Press Show” on Free Speech TV and author of “Buyer’s Remorse: How Obama Let Progressives Down."

The views expressed by this author are their own and are not the views of The Hill.