Donald Trump, Awake Not Woke
Former President Donald Trump speaks during the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) held in Florida in February 27, 2022, under the political slogan "Awake Not Woke". Photo credit: Vox España / Wikimedia (CC0 1.0 DEED)

Donald Trump likes to wish bad things on the United States if that would benefit him personally. But this week, he took things to another level.

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Donald Trump has a well-documented history of wishing bad things on the United States if that boosts his chances of getting elected. On Thursday, the former president took things to another level when he indicated that he could ensure the release of Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, who is held in Russia on an espionage charge, but chooses not to.

“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,” Trump wrote on his Truth Social website. “He will be HOME, SAFE, AND WITH HIS FAMILY. Vladimir Putin, President of Russia, will do that for me, but not for anyone else, and WE WILL BE PAYING NOTHING!”

In other words, Trump is claiming that, because Putin likes him so much, he would return Gershkovich instead of exchanging him for a Russian prisoner, which is widely believed to be the reason why the reporter was charged and held in the first place.

If that were true, which is always in doubt when the former president writes anything or opens his mouth, it raises the question why he isn’t doing something for Gershkovich right now instead of letting him rot in a Russian prison for six more months.

Certainly, a way could be arranged that would allow Putin to credit Trump to give him a leg up in the upcoming election. It wouldn’t be the first time the Russian leader has intervened on the former president’s behalf to get him in the White House.

Until he gets there again, Trump has stated that he wants bad things to happen to the United States this year because that would benefit him personally.

In addition to this episode, the former president has also openly rooted for a recession to hit the US this year, which could have a devastating effect on millions of Americans.

While it remains to be seen whether Putin does Trump this favor, it seems highly unlikely that the economy will comply with his wish for a downturn. Even though half of Americans are unaware of this, it is actually doing quite well.

However, the former president is not just passively rooting against US interests, he is also actively getting involved.

Earlier this year, he torpedoed a congressional immigration deal. That’s because fixing the problem at the border is far less beneficial to him personally than further chaos.

At the time, Trump critics within the GOP were flabbergasted.

“I think the border is a very important issue for Donald Trump. And the fact that he would communicate to Republican senators and congresspeople that he doesn’t want us to solve the border problem because he wants to blame Biden for it is … really appalling,” said Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT). “And someone running for president ought to try and get the problem solved. as opposed to saying, ‘Hey, save that problem. Don’t solve it. Let me take credit for solving it later.’”

But that’s just not how Trump operates, as he has once again demonstrated this week with his statement on Gershkovich.


  • Klaus Marre

    Klaus Marre is a writer, editor, former congressional reporter, and director of the WhoWhatWhy Mentor Apprentice Program. Follow him on Twitter @KlausMarre.

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