Donald Trump: Promise Keeper

Photo by Gage Skidmore

Donald Trump made plenty of promises during the presidential campaign, and he’s be backing away from many of them. Here’s one he’s kept: to accept the outcome of the presidential election — if he wins.

And he’s doubling down on that one. His response to the Washington Post report that the CIA believes Russia interfered in the election to help him become the president? It’s bogus. His transition team mocked the CIA’s assessment, saying, “These are the same people that said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. The election ended a long time ago in one of the biggest Electoral College victories in history. It’s now time to move on and ‘Make America Great Again.’”

Mr. Trump himself told Fox News that the notion that Russia intervened to help him win is “ridiculous.” He suggested that the Democrats put the story out, and he repeated his claim that the intelligence agencies don’t know that it was Russia behind the hacks. “They have no idea if it’s Russia or China or somebody. It could be somebody sitting in a bed some place. I mean, they have no idea,” he said.

So, the CIA isn’t credible and the consensus among US intelligence agencies is questionable, but the Democrats also made it up. After spending his presidential campaign peddling absurd conspiracy theories about the election being “rigged” in Hillary Clinton’s favor, Mr. Trump reacts to evidence of an actual conspiracy to rig it in his favor by claiming it’s a Democratic conspiracy. When it serves his interests, he confronts conspiracy with conspiracy theory. Apparently, this is how Donald Trump keeps promises.

Now, he won the election in the sense that there is no evidence Russia or anyone else tampered with the vote counts, and there is no way to prove definitively that Russia actually tipped the contest in his favor. His victory, nonetheless, bears the stains of foreign meddling.

But Mr. Trump appears more concerned about the security of his victory than the integrity of our democratic institutions, the ones in which he tried so hard to sow distrust before the election, and as recently as November 27. It doesn’t seem to matter to him that the election might not have been what it was supposed to be — the expression of the true will of the people, unsullied by foreign influence.

If Mr. Trump really cared about America’s greatness, he would take back the promise nobody took seriously to begin with. But he probably doesn’t, and he probably won’t.