It turns out that Turkish President Recep Erdogan was actually looking on as his goons assaulted American protesters in Washington D.C. earlier this week. As we wrote Wednesday, this had already happened once before, more than a year ago. That it happened a second time means this was a deliberate provocation.
And yet our tweet-happy president has not said a word. The NYT:
The White House has been silent on the episode, which took place after a warm reception for Mr. Erdogan at the Executive Mansion on Tuesday. And after issuing a short public statement on Wednesday, the State Department has mostly been working behind the scenes.
Donald Trump has made some people uncomfortable by proclaiming his admiration for Andrew Jackson and putting a bust of Old Hickory in the Oval Office. But the core of the Jacksonian tradition is a sense of honor—a refusal to take national humiliations lying down. And yet here America is being brazenly poked in the eye by a sneering foreign autocrat, and the extent of Washington’s public response has been… an angry letter. It wasn’t that long ago that candidate Trump was talking about politicians who are “all talk, no action.”
Maybe there are good reasons why the the President is keeping quiet on this—reasons having to do with plans for Syria and ISIS. Still, taking a slap in the face with cold detachment—especially if the excuse is that we somehow “need” the Turks’ help—is something we might have expected from President Obama. Tough guys like Putin and Erdogan only respect you if you push back. Of all people, Donald Trump should feel this in his bones.