Trump Brags that He and Putin are Holding Wall Street Journal Reporter Evan Gershkovich Hostage

The hatred that Donald Trump has for the media has been a core component of what passes for his ideology from before he was even a political candidate. And after he began his career in politics he escalated his animosity by repeatedly referring to the press in Stalinist terms as “the enemy of the people.” In virtually every public appearance Trump will insult journalists and news networks as “fake,” “corrupt,” and always out to get him.

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Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin

Trump’s assault on the Constitution’s protection of a free press is part of a calculated strategy to discredit any reporting about him that is less than reverential. He wants his cult followers to dismiss truthful accounts of his noxious words and behavior, and to believe only what he tells them to believe. That sort of messiah worship is, in fact, the prime directive of a cult. And at least so far as his glassy-eyed disciples go, it’s working.

SEE THIS: IT’S A CULT! Poll Shows Republicans Trust Only Criminal Messiah Trump to Tell Them the Truth

On Wednesday Trump posted a comment on his floundering social media scam, Truth Social, that is emblematic of both his aversion toward the press and his affinity toward his hero and role model, Vladimir Putin. In the comment Trump boasted that…

“Evan Gershkovich, the Reporter from The Wall Street Journal, who is being held by Russia, will be released almost immediately after the Election, but definitely before I assume Office. He will be HOME, SAFE, AND WITH HIS FAMILY. Vladimir Putin, President of Russia, will do that for me, but not for anyone else, and WE WILL BE PAYING NOTHING!”

Gershkovich has been held captive in Russia for just over a year on trumped up charges of espionage. The Biden administration has been working continuously to secure his freedom, just as they did for WNBA star Brittney Griner and Marine veteran Trevor Reed. But this interference by Trump isn’t going to help. To the contrary, it appears to be an unlawful attempt to conduct foreign policy and endanger the lives of Americans in Russia and elsewhere abroad.

In asserting that Putin will only release Gershkovich to Trump, and only after he is reelected, what Trump is implying is that he and Putin are conspiring to hold Gershkovich hostage in exchange for helping Trump’s reelection campaign. If Trump really has the influence that he is claiming (which is doubtful), why doesn’t he just tell Putin to release Gershkovich now?

Clearly both Trump and Putin are using this situation to benefit themselves. They both want Trump back in the White House. Putin wants him there because he is a malleable and obedient servant who fulfills the interests of Russia, such as dismantling NATO and defunding Ukraine. Trump wants to be there for the power tripping he enjoys so much, and to avoid prison and the other consequences of his illegal activities.

It is reprehensible that Trump would use and exacerbate the suffering of an American – and a journalist to boot – to achieve his own selfish desires. But it isn’t surprising. Gershkovich is not the only American that Russia is unjustly incarcerating. Former Marine Paul Whelan has been there for five years. He was abducted during Trump’s term, and Trump did nothing to secure his release. Biden tried to include Whelan in the exchange with Griner and Reed, but Putin stubbornly refused. Perhaps he was saving him for this arrangement with Trump.

Whelan and his family are probably wondering what happened to that special relationship that Trump supposedly has with Putin. It’s notable that Trump didn’t even mention Whelan in his comment. So why should anyone believe Trump now when he says he can get Putin to release Gershkovich?

The obvious answer is that they should not believe him. Trump is only interested in one person, and that’s Trump. Always has been, and always will be. And anyone who doesn’t believe that is already a fully indoctrinated MAGA cult member.


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