New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman reacted to President Trump's press conference Thursday afternoon in an interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer this evening. Friedman said he feared Americans are establishing an addiction to the president and also called it "reckless" for Trump to boast about the stock market.
The writer said Russian President Vladimir Putin "must have pinned a medal" on whoever ran the hacking campaign "that helped get Donald Trump elected."
"I was actually thinking about Vladimir Putin and Moscow," Friedman said of today's news conference. "He must have just pinned a medal on whoever ran the cyber campaign that helped get Donald Trump get elected president."
"What did Russia want Trump as president? One, he thought it would delegitimize American democracy and democratic systems in general. And he's gotten now a president basically who's declaring the free press in America fake news. And the other thing he wanted was to have an American president who would be so radioactive he could not lead the Western alliance, particularly the Atlantic alliance against Russia. And when we see the Speaker of the British parliament say that if Trump comes he doesn't want him to speak in the parliament. I think you'll get a hostile reaction to the president from the street anywhere he came in Europe. I find that really tragic," the NYTer said.
Friedman was asked to further explain his comment that Russian interference in the election is on the level of Pearl Harbor of the 9/11 attacks.
"Was the election of Donald Trump on that date in November really comparable to an act of war?" Blitzer posed to the Times scribe.
"I believe it was," he responded. "I think that it was one of the most dangerous and most profound things that's happened to our country certainly in my lifetime. Because what is it that actually distinguishes? What are our crown jewels, it's the way we rotate power, our institutions, our constitution, how we conduct elections. And an outside power, according to our top intelligence agencies and the FBI, intervened in this election."
Friedman, however, said it is too early to judge the Trump presidency and acknowledged Trump as a legitimate president.
The writer and author also expressed his fear that we are getting "addicted" to President Trump.
"What worries me I guess most, Wolf, and I listened to this press conference, Trump basically has three things going for him right now," Friedman said. "One is that he's very entertaining and I fear that a lot of Americans are getting addicted to him. I fear that we in the media, and I don't exclude myself, are getting addicted to writing about him because it's just so easy to do. So he's got this entertainment value."
"Number two, the stock market is going up and there is the hope and expectation that jobs will improve, that the economy will grow and number three, there is no immediate pressing crisis. But I tell you, Wolf, if he stops being entertaining if a crisis comes along, and I think it's been very reckless on his part to boast about the stock market because market's goes up and down, presidents should never talk about the dollar. This could all really change. I think this is all really throat-clearing right now. I have my seat belt tightly fastened."