Did the Russians rally folks down South with fake calls to the Confederacy? Seems so. But that doesn’t mean the actual Russian government can win friends on the same ground.
President Trump seemed to endorse of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s denial of hacking the 2016 presidential campaign when the two met in Helsinki. The fallout rumbled through the interwebs, and a day later the president said he misspoke.
Just for kicks, we decided to check on the reaction of congressional delegations from the original Confederate states: South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Florida and Texas. We’ve already discussed how Russian propaganda outfits used explicit calls to Confederate isdentity and ideology as part of their very-well established election interference campaign.
So, how did cozying up to the real deal go down politically in the land of cotton? Not great.
- SC Republicans chide Trump for yielding to Putin
- Georgia Republicans distance themselves from Trump’s Russia comments
- Alabama’s congressional delegation largely silent on Trump and Putin
- La. Congressman Garret Graves criticizes president’s remarks on Russia
- Fla. Democrats rip, Republicans disagree with Trump defense of Putin
- Texas Republicans and Democrats criticize Trump comments on Russia
Let’s be honest and say this isn’t a survey, not even of the entire congressional delegations from these states. And we didn’t find an article treating Mississippi’s congressional reaction. But given the remarkably consistent tone across the deep south of either outright criticism or silence, it seems fair to say that Trump’s comments were not seen as politically helpful.
“I don’t think we should be taking a former KGB colonel’s word for what their intelligence apparatus is doing or not doing. I believe our intelligence community,” said Texan Senator John Cornyn, a Republican.
Georgia Republican Rep. Karen Handel said, “Russia’s actions to undermine our democratic process and divide Americans must not be tolerated, and they must be held accountable.”
But, as the Atlanta Journal Constitution’s reporter noted, Handel and other Republicans from Georgia “took care not to directly repudiate Trump or his comments.”
The conclusion we draw from this is that the Russian government may know how to play Americans off against one another, but they have not found a way to make their own brand sellable. Trump himself remains a powerful avatar of a realignment of American politics, a person who fellow Republicans do not wish to cross — any more than they wish to bow to the heir of the czars.