George Stephanopoulos got quite a scoop. In addition to getting unusual access to the White House and the president, he got to ask a question to which the answer set the political world a-twittering. For days on end, the outrage kept escalating.

What was it that got so many people so upset? Trump was essentially asked if he would listen if a foreign government offered him negative information about an opposition candidate. When he answered in the affirmative, alarm bells when off all across the capital.

Both the media and the politicians acted as if our president had made a huge blunder. He was accused of being a felon, a traitor and a person who could not tell right from wrong. This was indeed evidence that he needed to be impeached. The harm he caused was incalculable.

This was not surprising given the left’s state of high dudgeon. They hate Trump and look for any excuse to damage his reputation. But many Republicans joined the chorus. They were not so scathing in their denunciations, yet some opined the president should not have said what he did.

For me, this was evidence that the political classes have lost their collective minds. The president was right. What he said was not only true, but common sense. That he was on the correct side, whereas his opponents were not, was a no-brainer. Even a surface analysis demonstrated as much.

Trump did not reveal that he had sold Hawaii to the Chinese without consulting Congress. Nor did he admit he was secretly having a sexual affair with the Russian ambassador. All he said was he would listen to someone who claimed to have important materials.

Why wouldn’t he? He might discover an influential American was in the pay of the Kremlin. Wouldn’t that be worth knowing? How could he tell ahead of time that this data was politically influenced? Only listening would enable him to determine if it were an immoral initiative.

Thus, what if the Norwegians said they had something of which we should be aware? Automatically rebuffing their assertion might be detrimental to the nation’s security. A president who refused to listen just because it was foreigners calling would be derelict in his duty.

Consider if this censorship were made national policy. The president could never talk to anyone who was not an American. Because he couldn’t be sure of what would be revealed, the only way to prevent him from being corrupted by disinformation would be to keep all foreigners at arms length.

If so, it would be impossible to conduct foreign policy. Wouldn’t this be isolationism on steroids? Perhaps Trump would require filters. Maybe if other countries went to his subordinates first and then they told him only what was permissible, he could be protected from impropriety.

One of Hillary’s defenders said as much. He argued that she was not guilty of getting political dirt from abroad because an American company had handled her outreach for the Russian Dossier. Because she had not personally been in contact with the Russians, this was OK.

Besides, as Trump said on more than one occasion, he would alert the FBI or the Attorney General if this were appropriate. Isn’t a president allowed to exercise judgment about these matters? Isn’t that what we elected him for?

The liberals are sure to disagree because they do not believe Trump has the good sense to make any such determinations. In fact, they don’t believe he has the wisdom to be president — period. They never wanted him in office — and still don’t.

So what was the scandal mongering about? Plainly, it had nothing to do with the content of Trump’s response. Politicians, including Democrats, have always had communications with foreigners. The only way this indignation makes sense is the president’s words were being twisted to make him look bad.

Anyone who doesn’t realize this fact is operating on low candlepower. One of the reasons that the national scene is so flummoxed is that millions of people simply follow the crowd. They don’t even consider the implications of what they endorse.

This latest brouhaha has got to be one of the most ridiculous we have ever experienced. I am not sure how we can get much lower. Donald Trump was candid and expressed a simple truth in straightforward language and he became a villain. If this nonsense continues, we may no longer be able to govern ourselves.

Melvyn L. Fein, Ph.D., is a professor

emeritus of sociology at Kennesaw

State University.

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