Former CIA Director John Brennan, watching Donald Trump's reaction to Charlottesville unfold in recent days, wrote a letter to CNN yesterday, arguing that the president, through "his words and his actions," is "putting our national security and our collective futures at grave risk."
Brennan added that Trump is poised to do "lasting harm to American society and to our standing in the world."
It's that last point that may need a brighter spotlight. Much of the American mainstream has recoiled in response to seeing a president defend racist activists, but no one should forget that we're not the only ones who've noticed.
The Economist, based in London, published a brutal piece in its new issue on Trump's "failure of character," featuring a cover in which Trump is depicted shouting into a white megaphone -- which also happens to be a Klansman's hood.
The Washington Post reported that the American president's latest offense "earned him another wave of backlash from world leaders."
British Prime Minister Theresa May didn't call Trump out by name but said in a statement Wednesday there was "no equivalence" between the two sides. [...]"I see no equivalence between those who propound fascist views and those who oppose them," May said. "I think it is important for all those in positions of responsibility to condemn far right views wherever we hear them."Trump's remarks renewed calls by some British leaders and activists for his state visit to the country to be canceled, according to the Guardian.
Some of the most heated criticisms came by way of Berlin, where German Justice Minister Heiko Maas said in a statement, "It is unbearable how Trump is now glossing over the violence of the right-wing hordes from Charlottesville. No one should trivialize anti-Semitism and racism by neo-Nazis."
There was even a demonstration yesterday at the Brandenburg Gate. Foreign Policy reported, "Hundreds of protesters gathered at Berlin's iconic Brandenburg Gate Wednesday to denounce white supremacy and express support for victims of the recent violence in Charlottesville."
The article added, "The crowd chanted 'Nazi scum go away,' and volunteers collected donations for the victims of Charlottesville."
There's already ample evidence that Trump is woefully unpopular across much of the planet, with American allies, who applauded Barack Obama, rejecting his Republican successor in overwhelming numbers. That, of course, was before Trump started defending torch-wielding bigots -- a development that will likely push his global standing down even further.
Ben Rhodes, a former foreign policy adviser in the Obama White House, added this morning that it's "hard to overstate the impact that Trump's response to Charlottesville will have abroad causing people to question basic assumptions" about the United States.
Some modern presidents have struggled with the title of Leader of the Free World. Donald J. Trump has taken the mantle and thrown it away.