Donald Trump should not take our national security so lightly

Supporters of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump watch as he speaks during a campaign rally at Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena, Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2016, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Last week, Donald J. Trump accepted the Republican Party’s nomination for president at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio.  He started his campaign as the official GOP nominee by inviting Russia to hack confidential United States servers. While such an act is in necessarily treasonous, it is not becoming of a presidential candidate to encourage espionage by a foreign country.

On July 22, 2016, just ahead of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Wikileaks released over 20,000 emails and files from the Democratic National Committee, with the bulk regarding the Democratic primary. In these documents, DNC staff were shown to be already favoring Hillary Clinton for their nominee, even while the primary process was still going on. There were also emails and memos where DNC staffers insulted donors, members of news organizations and members of other candidate camps. The leak led to the resignation of DNC chairperson, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and caused supporters of Bernie Sanders to publicly boycott the Democratic Party. An ongoing investigation has found, preliminarily, that Russian intelligence perpetrated the hack came.

In the wake of these reports, Trump has gone on the offensive. He encouraged Russia or China to continue hacking confidential servers, specifically Clinton’s, and to turn documents over to the media. Later on, Trump would deny that he was encouraging espionage, referring to the comments as “sarcastic.”

While the DNC leak confirmed suspicions of corruption exhibited in the Democratic primary, it was done in a manner that could have compromised national security. Russian intelligence officials hacked into secure servers of the Democratic National Committee, potentially under Russian government orders, and released the information to a random third-party. If Trump believes that the national security of our country is a joke, then he has a long way to go before he is ready to be president.

The servers that were hacked into could have very well contained sensitive information about the security of the United States. The hacker could have then turned that information over to the Russian government, or worse a terrorist organization or others with nefarious goals. To most it would be worrying that such a secure server would be hacked in an act of international espionage and criminal behavior.

In the wake of all of that kind of knowledge, Trump’s only response is to encourage the hacker to continue hacking United States servers in order to find Clinton’s “erased” emails. While the FBI investigation in Clinton’s emails found no evidence that confidential material was hacked and retrieved from her private server, Republicans continue to press the issue.

Based on that, why would Trump think it is a good idea to encourage, even as a joke, the hacking of her email server? Doing so could very well reveal confidential information to our enemies, something that the republicans were so scared Clinton had done by using a private email scandal.

Furthermore, Trump’s comments call into question his ability to serve as a president. The President of the United States is tasked with protecting all Americans, regardless of political or personal beliefs. If Trump believes he is capable of doing that, than he most certainly is not showing it. By encouraging a foreign individual to hack a citizen’s email, Trump encouraged a foreign government to perpetrate a cyber-crime upon a citizen of the United States.

This is in no-way a defense of the DNC’s horrific actions towards others, nor is it a defense of Clinton’s use of a private email server to handle official matters. Both of those events are evidence of officials using their power for incorrect purposes. That being said, no potential-leader of the free world should be encouraging rogue vigilantes to hack the United States and citizens.

Additionally, the FBI investigation into Clinton’s email server found that there was zero compromising information revealed to anyone not authorized to read it. By encouraging an additional, fruitless, investigation, Trump is just pandering to voters and continuing a witch hunt, instead of focusing on any real issue.

Donald Trump will potentially become the forty-fourth president of the United States;however,  his response to the DNC leak shows that he has grasp on acting presidential or protecting the well-being of American citizens. Such a man should not be allowed into the Oval Office until he can show that he will do everything to fulfill the oath that that office holds.   


Amar Batra is a contributor to the Daily Campus opinion section, and is also a senior staff photographer. He can be reached via email at amar.batra@uconn.edu. He tweets at @amar_batra19.