Trump's Putin Flirtation Gets Serious

The bromance heating up?

Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

The defining features of Donald Trump’s foreign policy agenda thus far have been obliviousness and instability. Either is disqualifying in a potential commander in chief. Encouraging Russian espionage and interference in a U.S. presidential election, however, represents a depressing new low.

“Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 e-mails that are missing,” Mr. Trump said at a press conference Wednesday, referring to e-mails sent and received by Hillary Clinton when she was secretary of state. “I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.”

Some Republicans with deep foreign policy experience have already abandoned Trump due to his erratic ways. Whatever’s left of the Republican foreign policy establishment needs to make it clear that Trump’s flirtation with Russia -- especially President Vladimir Putin’s strongman ways -- has gone too far.

Politics is a tough business. No one, least of all Trump, should give Clinton a pass for her poor judgment in using a private e-mail system while she was the nation’s chief diplomat. Her actions are the subject of legitimate debate and deserving of criticism.

But inviting Russia to participate in that debate -- and to influence it through treachery -- is well beyond the pale. If there is no outcry about Trump’s behavior from responsible Republicans, the party will be setting a dangerous precedent that its members, not to mention the country, will come to regret.

To contact the senior editor responsible for Bloomberg View’s editorials: David Shipley at davidshipley@bloomberg.net.