AMID THE increasingly troubling revelations concerning former national security adviser Michael Flynn and his lies about calls with a Russian diplomat, I have a question for white working-class Americans.
Why aren't you outraged?
The Justice Department says that before Trump was sworn in on Jan. 20, Flynn, in a call with a Russian envoy, discussed sanctions levied on Russia by the Obama administration in December for alleged efforts to influence the presidential election.
When confronted about the conversation, Flynn told reporters, and then-Vice President Mike Pence, that he had not discussed sanctions. Then Flynn said he wasn't sure what he had discussed. Then, when it was clear the telephone call had been monitored and recorded, Flynn resigned his position.
Meanwhile, Trump, who on Friday gave reporters the impression he knew nothing about Flynn's lies, had been briefed by the Justice Department weeks before. That briefing included a warning that Flynn might be vulnerable to blackmail by the Russians because of the call. Trump knew that, and, for weeks, he allowed Flynn to stay in a key White House position.
I don't think you need a doctorate in international affairs to know Trump endangered the American people by allowing Flynn to remain in his position after learning Flynn had been compromised by the Russians.
But maybe that's the point. Millions of Americans who support Trump are primarily white working-class voters without college degrees. And Trump, who famously said, "I love the poorly educated," is a billionaire whose Ivy League education puts him firmly in the upper class.
Trump told us on the campaign trail he believed he could shoot someone and not lose any voters. I wonder whether he still holds that dim view of his supporters.
Does he think the white working-class Americans who elected him can't see the impropriety of his administration's dealings with Russia? Or does he truly believe he can distract them from his Russian problem by focusing on racial and religious minorities?
I hope that's not the case.
I'd like to believe that Americans aren't gullible enough to believe that a nuclear-armed Russia poses less of a threat than refugees who arrive after a two-year vetting process. Americans can't really think that legal immigrants from poor countries are more dangerous than Vladimir Putin. We can't be so narrow-minded that we build a wall along the Mexican border while giving the Russians the key to the White House.
Americans have to be smarter than that.
We can't be so divided along the lines of race and class that we'll fight among ourselves while a foreign enemy infiltrates our government. We can't be so distracted by the president's latest Twitter rant that we ignore the aggressive actions of our enemies.
Even as I write this, a Russian spy ship is sailing 70 miles off the coast of Delaware, having traveled up America's East Coast from Cuba. And a new Russian cruise missile has been deployed in apparent violation of a treaty agreement with America. In both cases, the Trump administration has yet to take meaningful action.
But rather than focusing on the real threat posed by Russia, Americans are engrossed in the deportations of a few hundred brown people. We are captivated by the court battle over a temporary Muslim travel ban. We ignore the administration's links to Russia.
Those links, by the way, are substantial.
The Trump administration agrees with the intelligence community's assessment that Russia intervened in the November election in an effort to help Trump win the presidency. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is a former oil executive who flouted American policy while pursuing business in Russia. American intelligence agencies have confirmed the authenticity of some elements of a Russian dossier containing damaging information about Trump. And the president has on numerous occasions sharply criticized American agencies and policies while simultaneously praising Russia.
Now we learn that the man who eventually became Trump's national security adviser is alleged to have improperly discussed sanctions with Russians and lied about it when he was caught.
But I don't think the story ends there.
All Americans - whether or not we voted for Trump - deserve something that has thus far been in short supply with this administration: the truth.
We need to hear what the president knew, when he knew it and whether he acted on that information immediately.
You don't have to be a billionaire Ivy League graduate to see that something's wrong with the Flynn situation.
We need to know exactly how wrong it is.
Solomon Jones is the author of 10 books. Listen to him mornings from 7 to 10 on WURD (900-AM).