In the wake of President Donald Trump's disastrous meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday, calls for Jon Huntsman, who currently serves as Trump's Ambassador to Russia, to resign resounded on Twitter.
@JonHuntsman Resign, if you have any honor.— John Weaver (@John Weaver) 1531758376.0
How can Jon Huntsman not resign immediately after that Trump-Putin presser?— Chris Cillizza (@Chris Cillizza) 1531759794.0
We will see if her father, @JonHuntsman agrees, and does the right thing by resigning in protest. https://t.co/eLm9mXjmPD— VoteVets (@VoteVets) 1531761017.0
But now Huntsman's hometown newspaper, The Salt Lake Tribune, which is owned by Huntsman's brother Paul, has joined the fray, having published a blistering Op-Ed titled "Ambassador Huntsman, Your Country Needs You."
In it columnist Robert Gehrke does not mince words:
"You work for a pawn, not a president...It’s time to come home."
Column in the Salt Lake Tribune, owned by the Huntsman family: "Ambassador Huntsman, you work for a pawn, not a pre… https://t.co/sBsrOKiY32— Kyle Griffin (@Kyle Griffin) 1531848905.0
Gehrke said that after Trump's "disgraceful" display of capitulation to Putin in Helsinki, "there is no other reasonable course of action" than for Huntsman to resign his post.
@kylegriffin1 This is bad. His own family.— Federico Alves (@Federico Alves) 1531850962.0
Gehrke noted that although the people of Utah were "stunned" when Huntsman agreed to serve in the Trump administration out of a "deep sense of duty," the ambassador should not continue to work for a president who "doesn’t share your values, or American values, for that matter."
Resigning would send a message to Trump that a president "who attacks our allies, gives comfort to our adversaries and undermines our moral standing, our commitment to democratic ideals and our interest in human rights" will not be tolerated, Gehrke wrote.
Standing next to Putin during a press conference on Monday, Trump accepted Putin's word that Russia did not interfere in the 2016 presidential election despite the unanimous conclusions of every single American intelligence agency.
“I have great confidence in my intelligence people,” Trump said. “But I will tell you that President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today.”
On Sunday, Huntsman attempted to downplay the significance of the encounter between Trump and Putin. “This isn’t a summit,” Huntsman told Chuck Todd on Meet the Press. “It’s a meeting.”
ICYMI: U.S. Amb. to Russia Jon Huntsman says the Trump-Putin meeting "isn’t a summit" #MTP #IfItsSunday… https://t.co/L3tMHu1dP6— Meet the Press (@Meet the Press) 1531729422.0
Gehrke called Trump's words a "disservice to the U.S. intelligence community, those diplomats who work in your office, and the integrity of our democracy and justice system."
@kylegriffin1 I remember when this guy/Salt Lake Tribune newspaper made the same plea/claim when Huntsman was amba… https://t.co/EZTLd6WsNC— SandraForPete🇺🇸🇳🇴🇸🇪 (@SandraForPete🇺🇸🇳🇴🇸🇪) 1531850781.0
Gehrke also cited Special Counsel Robert Mueller's ongoing probe into the Russian attack on our election, adding that "no rational person can seriously question Russian involvement." Mueller has issued more than 100 indictments against more than two dozen Russians and five Trump associates in the course of his year-long probe.
Huntsman's role as chief emissary to Russia is undermined, Gehrke opines, because neither Trump or Putin is a "rational person."
In addition to widespread condemnation of Trump's remarks in Helsinki by Republican lawmakers, Huntsman's daughter Abby tweeted on Monday that Trump threw the United States "under the bus."
No negotiation is worth throwing your own people and country under the bus.— Abby Huntsman (@Abby Huntsman) 1531759229.0
Gehrke then asks how Huntsman, who has two sons in the navy, could possibly "entrust their future to such a cowardly, misguided commander in chief" who espouses a "fundamental disregard for U.S. security and our moral authority internationally?"
"This has to be the last straw," Gehrke said. He suggested that Huntsman remaining in place as ambassador amounts to "complicity in the undoing of our nation and its status as a world leader."