Trump, the Russians and Alicia Machado

You probably remember it as one of the most frustrating moments of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.

Hillary Clinton, understanding that her opponent was, shall we say, easily distracted, trotted out a woman named Alicia Machado to tell the world about how Trump had said nasty things about her weight when she was Miss Universe. This was supposed to cement Trump’s reputation as a misogynist and all around male chauvinist P-I-G, thus rallying the female vote to Hillary’s side. It was also a pretty good way of putting him on the defensive, getting him to talk about what was essentially a non-issue while Hillary skated on her own ethical problems with the Clinton Foundation and the criminal investigation into her use of a private email server while she was Secretary of State.

As it turned out, however, those few extra pounds weren’t the only baggage that Machado was lugging around. She was like a character straight out of a telenovela, the former girlfriend of a drug kingpin who allegedly threatened to kill a judge but somehow managed to escape conviction for driving a getaway car after an attempted murder. Trump could have easily brushed Machado off like so many Twinkie crumbs–but instead, he allowed her to get under his skin, and spent days on Twitter denouncing her and only compounding a problem that should have been left to fizzle out on its own.

Well, it looks like the media have found their new Alicia Machado–and this time, it comes from Russia, with love. Unfortunately, true to form, Donald Trump is taking the bait–again:

Mr. President, I’m here to tell you: It will never end. Do you honestly think there’s going to come a point when the media finally give in and say, “By golly, you were right and we were wrong. We’re so sorry for misrepresenting you and your administration!” They are out to destroy you! To them, it’s no longer just about disagreeing with your policies, or protecting Barack Obama’s legacy, or just not liking you personally. They now have to prove that they can take you down. It’s the only way they can assure themselves that they’re still relevant, after failing to stop you from winning the election.

That means they will never stop. Especially if they know your weakness for not being able to leave well enough alone. That was true for Alicia Machado then, and it’s doubly true for Russia now.

You have the facts on your side, Mr. President. Nobody, anywhere has been able to offer up any kind of evidence that you or your campaign colluded with Russia to steal the election. And if any proof existed, don’t you think it would have leaked by now? The best the media can do is goad you with bits and pieces of innuendo, half-truths and out-and-out #FakeNews–but instead of letting them make fools of themselves, you let the tweets fly and keep the issue alive.

America doesn’t need that drama, Mr. President. And neither do you.

Appoint a new FBI Director, somebody who is so above reproach even the Democrats won’t be able to complain. Then let the process of the Russia investigation play out openly and honestly. Finally, for God’s sake, craft a unified message and stick with it. Make your tweets part of that effort, and stick to the facts at hand.

The people who sent you to Washington did so because they wanted you to enact your agenda–not spend all your time, effort and political capital on distractions like this.

So stop feeding the trolls and get back to work.

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