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Me, The Observer, and The Donald

June 2, 2016

Since last autumn I’ve been writing about national security for The Observer, the New York-based newspaper. It’s been a lot of fun and you can see all of my columns here.

Several of those columns have covered Hillary Clinton’s on-going problems with her email when she served as secretary of state during President Obama’s first term. That mess, what I’ve termed EmailGate, continues to dog Hillary’s presidential campaign and my coverage is probably not overly appreciated by Team Clinton.

To be clear, EmailGate has made me join ranks with the #NeverHillary faction. I believe her willful mishandling of her communications at Foggy Bottom — the ridiculous bathroom server, the dodging of numerous laws that apply to the rest of us, the compromise of seriously classified information, above all the flagrant lying about it that continues to this very day — shows she is not fit to be our commander-in-chief. Hillary simply cannot be trusted.

I’ve never been a Hillary hater, as I’ve explained on this blog. Before EmailGate, I considered Ms.Clinton to be a respectable, if somewhat laughable politician, who never hid her naked ambition very well. That said, I assessed her as competent and rather non-ideological (from me, that’s a compliment). I believed Hillary, whatever her faults, could make the trains run on time. Now that EmailGate has laid bare Hillary’s staggering incompetence and dishonesty, any admiration I possessed has evaporated.

Hillary’s fans, who cannot rebut my commentary on EmailGate with facts, have taken to name-calling on social media, including noting that The Observer is owned by Jared Kushner, who happens to be Donald Trump’s son-in-law. Jared is married to Ivanka Trump, who enjoys an exceptionally close relationship with her father, and the media have reported that Mr. Kushner is playing an important role in Mr. Trump’s presidential campaign.

Hillary’s defenders have implied that my writings for The Observer constitute some sort of Trump campaign operation to attack their candidate. Some have also noted that Ken Kurson, the paper’s editor in chief, has written a speech for Mr. Trump on Israel. Since Mr. Kushner and Mr. Kurson are both Jewish, there is a nasty whiff of anti-Semitism in some of the accusations coming from Hillary’s fans.

Allow me to be perfectly clear. I write what I like for The Observer. Never — that is: not ever — have Jared or Ken asked me to write anything (or just as important, not to write anything) about Mr. Trump or Ms. Clinton. Neither have they edited anything I’ve written on any issue for political effect. They wanted the Full Schindler, so they get him.

My feelings about The Donald are complex, as my regular readers know. When he entered the race almost a year ago I considered him to be a novel (if slightly risible) breath of fresh air and I valued his ability to force the GOP to discuss important national issues that the party establishment had kept a lid on for many years. That said, I noted Mr. Trump’s flaws as a presidential candidate and assessed that he had zero chance of becoming the Republican nominee in 2016. Like pretty much every other pundit in America, I was wrong.

As I’m a member of the #NeverHillary faction, The Donald will have my support this November if he is anointed the GOP’s nominee in Cleveland, which looks virtually certain to be the case. That support is not without certain reservations — Mr. Trump’s views on national security frequently seem half-formed while his reliance on advisers with ties to Vladimir Putin’s Kremlin troubles me, as I’ve noted many times on Twitter — but given the choice, it’s not a tough call for me. As I observed in my column yesterday, Mr. Trump may not be quite up on some key issues, but at least he’s not under investigation by the FBI for espionage and corruption.

Supporters of Hillary Clinton who wish to counter my analysis of EmailGate are free to do so. Commenters who know more about intelligence than I do will get my full attention. Otherwise keep it down while adults are talking. And lay off unfounded accusations of bias, secret Trump machinations, and hints of Jewish conspiracy. I am my own man, that’s why a lot of you read me. And I will keep it up. Enjoy.

 

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