As peace talks proceeded for ending the long-running war in Afghanistan, President Trump was informed as early as January that bounties were being paid to Taliban-linked militants for killing American and coalition troops. The payer-organization was a Russian unit known to have performed covert assassinations in Europe.

How has President Trump responded to this information? Was he angry? Did he initiate appropriate consequences against Putin? Alas, our president simply tried to keep it a secret. Trump’s non-action and secrecy led someone in the Pentagon to leak the story. We already knew that Trump never confronted Putin regarding 2016’s election interference. We’ve noted that Trump has ignored other Russian provocations throughout his presidency. Families of the twenty-some American service members killed since 2019 in Afghanistan deserve answers. Why isn’t Trump angry about this? Why are there no consequences for Russia?

Throughout his presidency, Trump has consistently shown adoration and special comity for Putin. He’s had many secret conversations with Putin and other high-level Russian ministers. He’s consistently supported Russia’s interests — often to the detriment of our European allies. Can a simple-minded observer like me be faulted for quietly wondering whether Trump might be secretly beholden to Russia’s Putin?

It’s also disturbing that the U.S., with 4% of the world’s population, is accounting for 25% of COVID-related deaths on this planet. Trump should be pressing insurance companies to expand their coverage of covid-19 testing. Our country needs a national testing strategy. A full economic recovery is unlikely until the public has confidence the disease is contained. South Dakota’s two senators are also responsible for these many failures.

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