There is a theory in Washington that all the president’s generals — Defense Secretary James Mattis, chief of staff John Kelly and National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster — are the adults in the room who will prevent Donald Trump from pushing the button prematurely.
Sen. Chris Murphy, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, is not so sure.
“I think they’re wrong,’’ Murphy said of those propounding the theory. “There should be an increased worry that we are sliding toward a war that no one wants.’’
The signals are none too reassuring: Secretary of State Rex Tillerson reportedly calling Trump a “moron;’’ Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman Bob Corker, R-Tenn., tweeted the White House has become “an adult daycare center;’’ Trump taunted Dictator Kim Jong Un as “rocket man’’ and threatened to “totally destroy’’ North Korea . . . the list goes on.
If you’re looking for reassurance that the worst won’t happen, Murphy is not your guy.
“I’m trying to ring alarm bells’’ to wake up Republican colleagues, Murphy said. No one was more intimate with the Trump White House than Corker, “so everyone should take his warning seriously.’’
And although the retired generals in charge of Trump foreign policy and national security appear to be the cool hands on the tiller, Murphy pointed out the Pentagon has a long history of supporting military solutions — whether in Vietnam or during the Cuban missile crisis.
In Murphy’s view, cancelling the Iran nuclear deal would send the wrong signal to Kim Jong Un that America’s word is not to be trusted.
Bottom line for Murphy is that this is no time to be a shrinking violet.
“I don’t want to look back three years from now and be kicking myself that I didn’t connect the dots,’’ he said.
One thing that’s become apparent as evidence of Russia’s fake Facebook postings mount: In its effort to sew divisions in the American electorate, Russia was an equal-opportunity exploiter.
Yes, Russia’s Facebook intruders fanned the flames of suspicion of immigrants. But according to the New York Times, they also cooked up pages like “Blacktivist’’ that specialized in videos and commentary on police abuse of minorities. Among the posts: a message about the death of Jayson Negron, a 15-year-old Bridgeport teenager shot by police on May 9.
“Negron was just one of many episodes highlighted in the Russia Facebook postings,’’ said Rep. Jim Himes, who has reviewed scores of them as a member of the House Intelligence Committee investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible Trump-campaign collusion.
Himes said he could not believe the sophistication of the Russian effort.
And he said he saw a clear effort to depress voter turnout among minorities. There were postings of photos of African Americans and Latinos with captions in Spanish and English that told voters: “Why wait in line?’’ They could vote through their smart phones by texting “Hillary Clinton’’ to a particular number, as though it were a contest entry.
“My jaw just hit the floor,’’ Himes said.
Change of direction
As he dialed-up voters in northern Virginia last year to persuade them to vote for Hillary Clinton, Sebastien Lasseur, of Cornwall, Conn., couldn’t help but think that a bright future awaited him in the new Clinton administration.
But that was not to be.
Instead, Lasseur, Vassar class of 2016 and star soccer player there and at Housatonic Valley Regional H.S., went to D.C. to pound the pavement.
It’s been an eye-opening experience.
“I was raised in a New England bubble in some ways,’’ he said. “You don’t expect your country to elect someone like Donald Trump.’’
Lasseur, now 23, ultimately landed on his feet, doing odd jobs and serving as assistant to a former ambassador and then working as an intern in the legendary press shop of Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y.
Now he is a policy specialist at the prestigious law firm, Arnold & Porter Kay Scholer, where he keeps tabs on developments in tax, trade and financial services.
As his name implies, Lasseur has French roots. His father, Dominique Lasseur, is a Paris native and documentary filmmaker along with his mother, Catherine Tatge. The younger Lasseur made regular trips to France to visit relatives and is totally bilingual.
“I know my way around Paris pretty well,’’ he laughed.
His next preferred step is working on Capitol Hill for a member of Congress and, hopefully, focus on renewable energy and climate change.
“I had hoped to come to Washington on a Democratic wave, and help enact policies I care about,’’ he said. And when Trump won, “it was definitely a wake-up call, a challenge for people like me, who are liberal and care.’’