Trump’s Weak Link

FILE - Donald Trump accompanied by, from second from left, Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, Vice President Mike Pence, White House press secretary Sean Spicer and then-National Security Adviser Michael Flynn speaks on the phone with Russian President Vladimir Putin, in the Oval Office, Jan. 28. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)

My opinion on the major issue that has erupted regarding the disclosure of highly classified information by President Trump to the Russians – and until proven otherwise – is that the president did not have bad intentions; quite the contrary. He did so out of pride, in the spirit of proving the superiority of American intelligence over that of others, including the Russians.

That is also evidenced by an excerpt from the official transcript of the meeting in which Trump told the Russian officials: “I get great intel. I have people brief me on great intel every day.”

Thus, pride and superiority over his rivals were the president’s motives, and not to harm the interests of his country.

And yet, that was the end result.

Armed with information, the Russians will find a way to learn how and where this information is collected.

The ally who shared the information with the United States – probably Israel – will think twice before doing so again, just as U.S. intelligence will also think twice before disclosing sensitive information to the president.

In other words, the trust has been broken between them. Great damage has been done.

Another broken link is that of the trust between Trump and his associates.

It is not the first time he has done this. The same thing occurred with the termination of FBI Director James Comey.

Therefore, when information was leaked to the Washington Post that Trump shared details with the Russians about an Islamic State terror threat, the president’s associates rushed to defend him.  “I was in the room,” President Trump’s national security advisor stated, “it didn’t happen.”

Furthermore, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson defended the president by stating that he did not reveal specific intelligence sources and methods – although no one claimed he did.

Reading these statements led me to believe that the Post was “in trouble,” that it had been misled. Yet, on Tuesday morning, the president confirmed the news himself: “I wanted to share with Russia (at an openly scheduled White House meeting) which I have the absolute right to do, facts pertaining…to terrorism and airline flight safety,” he wrote.

Okay, he certainly has that right.

But what happens now with his loyal associates who rushed to cover up for him and whom he exposed in the most cynical way? Does he not make them unreliable? Who will take them seriously now?

Moreover, should they not have to resign after this?

I am returning, then, to my main point, that of being loyal to friends and associates. Being loyal, as well as having the reputation of being loyal, goes to the heart of human relationships. As our wise ancestors said, you get to know who your friends are in hard times. The loyal person is distinguishable in times of difficulty and danger.

But this also requires that both or more parties are loyal. It cannot be true for only one. It could last for a while, in very few cases, but not for long.

Trump obviously does not understand this. He seems to think that his associates should be loyal because he gave them jobs and money.

Of course, these play an important part, but are not the only ones.

The most important part is loyalty. The knowledge of devotion and of protecting one another, and not the total disregard of one side for the reputation of the other.

Perhaps the continuous leaks from the White House, from his “friends,” are due to his lack of loyalty?