Trump's Hostage

Americans are united in saying #IStandWithEvan. The one person failing to do so is Donald Trump.

Trump's Hostage

In an astonishing new post on Truth Social, Donald Trump has made a brazen attempt to ensure that imprisoned Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich will not be released before the November 5 election:

"Evan Gershkovich, the Reporter from The Wall Street Journal, who is being held by Russia, will be released almost immediately after the Election, but definitely before I assume Office. He will be HOME, SAFE, AND WITH HIS FAMILY," Trump said."Vladimir Putin, President of Russia, will do that for me, but not for anyone else, and WE WILL BE PAYING NOTHING!"

As Jonathan Chait writes in New York: "If Gershkovich goes free prior to the election, Trump would look foolish, and Trump understands perfectly well Putin does not want that to happen."

Trump's May 23 social media post comes a few weeks after the former US president was cajoled by an eager reporter into finally stating for the first time that Evan Gershkovich should be released.

Here's part of that exchange with TIME National Politics Reporter Eric Cortellessa, in an interview published on 30 April 2024:

Cortellessa: President Trump, we just passed the one year anniversary of Evan Gerskovich’s detainment in Russia. Why haven't you called for his release?

Trump: I guess because I have so many things I'm working on. I have hundreds of things. And I probably have said very good things about him. Maybe it wasn't reported. But I think he's a very brave young man.

Will you do it now? 

Trump: You’re talking about Wall Street Journal? 


Trump: Oh, I would certainly call. I’ll call for it right now in your story if you'd like.


Trump: But I do have. I do have many, many things. And here's a difference between me and Biden: I'll get him released. He'll be released. Putin is going to release him. 

As the above exchange makes clear, Biden campaign adviser TJ Ducklo was exactly correct when he said in a statement: "Donald Trump doesn't give a damn about the innocent Americans unjustly imprisoned by Vladimir Putin."

Ducklo accused Trump of using wrongfully imprisoned Americans as "political weapons and props to use for his own gain" and also noted that Trump had turned down an opportunity to secure the release of former Marine Paul Whelan in 2018, contrasting that with "the 60 Americans who were wrongfully detained or taken hostage that President Biden has already brought home since taking office.” 

X user @clearing_fog contrasted Trump's scandalous 2024 behavior to the secret 1980 sabotage of President Carter's re-election bid during the Iran hostage crisis, noting that: "The last time something like this happened Republicans kept it a secret for over 40 years. (Trump)’s just tweeting it out."

Brian Beutler asked on X: "Has the White House press corps taken notice that Trump is in cahoots with Putin to keep a journalism colleague held hostage through the election?"

After tracking reactions for a while, Beutler answered that question: "Guess not."

Trump is attacking America—and endangering Americans— on multiple fronts

By inserting himself into the Evan Gershkovich case, Trump is effectively sentencing the American reporter to at least another six months in a Russian prison.

And that's just one of the ways Trump is attempting to sabotage Biden—and harm America—in his desperate attempt to return to the White House.

Beutler also writes that: "There is reason to believe Trump is mounting a shadow diplomacy to lengthen Israel’s war on Gaza," which, combined with his Gershkovich statement, raises "the obvious question of whether he has an implicit or explicit understanding, not just with Putin... but with allied autocrats the world over who want him back in office and can subvert global relations until after the election." (Seth Abramson is claiming to have evidence of all that and more in a new X thread and paywalled Substack article).

Trump also sabotaged Biden's Border Patrol union-backed, bipartisan immigration reform bill

Earlier this year, Trump not only told Republicans to block a bipartisan border security bill "after falsely claiming 300,000 people are killed because of weak border security," he also said people should blame him for doing it.

In other words, every time Jim Jordan or Jesse Watters tweets about, or Fox News or the NY Post reports on a crime committed by a newly arrived undocumented immigrant, remind them to do what ultra-conservative GOP Senator Lankford says they should: blame Trump and the House Republicans.

Biden has promised to make Trump's sabotage of the Border Patrol union-backed bill a campaign issue in 2024. But it's safe to say that the truth won't permeate the right-wing media bubble inhabited by Fox News viewers and hardcore MAGA voters.

But maybe the case of Evan Gershkovich is one that can break through.

On Friday 29 March 2024, The Wall Street Journal marked a year of Gershkovich's captivity with a front page that was mostly blank under the headline "His Story Should Be Here."

Lawyers at the Rupert Murdoch-owned publication are actively involved in negotiating for Gershkovich's release.

The Wall Street Journal's #IStandWithEvan campaign continues to highlight Evan's plight "in a tiny cell in a notorious Moscow prison," with support from journalists at every major news brand, including Fox News.

Journalism is not a crime. An America reporter should never be used as a political pawn. The country is united in standing with Evan.

The one person failing to do so is Donald Trump.

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