Donald Trump has been touted as a "Russian Puppet" of the Kremlin's Vladimir Putin, but after lobbing 59 Tomahawk missiles into Syrian President Bashar Assad's airbase this week, one writer believes the president's most outspoken opponents will need to find a new line of attack.
It is widely known and accepted by intelligence officials and partisans on both sides of the aisle that Putin tried to influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.
The common logic dictated that Putin wanted an inexperienced pol like Trump in the White House rather than an experienced politician, such as Hillary Clinton.
Backing up this theory were the trove of leaks that targeted the Clinton campaign while Trump's efforts remained largely untouched.
After Trump was elected through the Electoral College — he lost the popular vote — his administration faced a great deal of heat for speaking in flattering terms of Putin and for engaging in emotional equivalence between the two countries.
Then, there was the now infamous "dossier" released by BuzzFeed that made Donald Trump out to be a sexual deviant, who was being blackmailed by Russian authorities, among other infractions.
#SyriaStrikes.@CNNSo...if Trump sides w Putin he's a Russian puppet and if he sides against Putin he's starting WW3? pic.twitter.com/n84tzmfJTONone of the claims have checked out, but they do show the decidedly pro-Russia narrative that has built up around President Trump.
— Philip Schuyler (@FiveRights) April 7, 2017
Then, this week happened; and for CNBC columnist Jake Novak, it changed more than just the relationship between Trump and Putin. It also "yanked away" one of the Democrats' best lines of attack.
Novak called Trump's Syrian assault "a dramatic flipping of the script in Washington, Moscow, and beyond."
"It's not exactly an example of a totally negative story turning into a totally positive one for President Trump, but it's close. Because from now on, the narrative that the president is some kind of puppet of Russian President Vladimir Putin is going to be much harder to promote," Novak said, adding that an independent Trump "is harder to completely tear down than a man supposedly being remote-controlled by the Kremlin … no matter what he does."
Novak charges that Democrats will have to hit the reset button with their approach to Trump, though he also confesses that there is no way a hostile party will suddenly warm to the President.
Their next approach, Novak said, "will likely be a continued rehashing of then-private citizen Trump using Twitter and other venues to warn against attacks on Syria and more wars in the Middle East."
However, all these lines of attack do, he notes, are move Trump more toward "political normalcy" since other presidents have, in the past, committed military actions that became the subject of similar arguments.
"The 'Trump is a Russian-controlled stooge' was different and unique, especially since concerns over its possible veracity made it all the way to the level of a congressional investigation," Novak writes — a congressional investigation that will likely be scrapped now that it's apparent Trump and Putin aren't in bed together.
To go along with the reality that this is not entirely a good thing for Trump, some of his most ardent supporters have been out in full force against the action with alt-right personality Milo Yiannopoulos, controversial conservative author Ann Coulter, and Paul Joseph Watson dissing the military action.
Trump has, in other words, won new praise and new criticism. The question that remains for the 45th POTUS is whether those now praising him will stop being enemies and whether those who lofted him into the White House will stick around for a second term.
Sure, let's use this opportunity to make it seem like Trump is less of a puppet. https://t.co/4v1AJEZYmr #trumprussia #SyriaAirstrikeWhat do you think readers?
— Dr. DaShanne Stokes (@DaShanneStokes) April 7, 2017
Has Donald Trump ended the debate over his supposed ties to Russia with this latest military action? Sound off in the comments section below.