That whole MAGA nonsense has about reached its expiration date. Take off the big red hat and retire it, my friend.

All your flag-waving histrionics and your hand-wringing anthem outrage have proven to be nothing but fake news. All that America First chest-bumping and God Bless America showy piety you’ve spent the past two years peddling, looks largely ridiculous at this point.

The Helsinki Summit has fully exposed you.

When a sitting President stands alongside a murderous dictator and declares to trust that man more than American Intelligence, more than our public servants across the aisle, more than our nation’s press — he has stepped out into the stark light of day and revealed himself.

When he is more willing to meet with one of our greatest adversaries; a man guilty of poisonings and murders for hire and war crimes — than he is to spend time with American troops on the ground or Democrats in the House or shooting victims here at home — he has declared who he is.

And when you refuse to name it all as treasonous, when you choose to remain silent, when you pretend you don’t see it — you declare who you are. We see it. The world sees it.

Oh sure, we expected as much all along. Throughout the campaign we could see that with each passing day you had started to sell off your soul in tiny little parcels. It was sickening to behold.

With every vile word about women you excused, with every act of thuggery you overlooked, with every bit of race-bait you gobbled up, with every hate crime you turned away from, with every vicious Tweet you normalized — you gradually lost the plot.

Lots of things kept falling to the wayside along the way to his “Making America Great’Again”: decency, compassion, honesty, goodness.

When we brought these things to your attention, you tried to wrap it all in Old Glory apple pie and fireworks—but we had a hunch that all that past greatness you said you wanted to get back to was really just whiteness.

We thought it was just racism and nationalism. We figured it was Islamophobia and misogyny. We suspected it was weaponized religion. We imagined it was homophobia and privilege. We knew it was blind hatred of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

That was all bad enough. We never dreamed that in your lust for Supreme Court seats and women’s rights rollbacks and NRA contributions, and for some feeling of retribution against the world—that you’d do this.

We never thought you would ratify treason. Honestly, that has been a shock.

But it is clear now. We know what we are dealing with. When you side with the Kremlin, you have sorta said all you have to say, haven’t you? There’s no gray there, no red, white and blue veneer of patriotism that can make this right, no star-spangled garbage to parade in front of it to distract.

Millions of Americans died to protect you and I from the very sickness Donald Trump is willingly getting into bed with — and that fact that you do not care about it makes you reckless and irresponsible, and it makes you a traitor.

If you are okay with what is happened during the campaign and with the election, with what is unfolding right now, you may as well swap those Stars and Stripes for a hammer and sickle because that is where we are now. Trade that MAGA hat for an ushanka because it is a more fitting covering.

You may as well come clean now, friend. Tell us you just want the Republican power grab. Tell us you want Roe v. Wade overturned. Tell us you just wanted to win at any cost. Tell us you just really don’t like brown and black people. Trust me, we’ll believe you.

Just don’t say you love this President and America anymore. The Helsinki press conference has made it perfectly clear: One of those things simply is not true. Sadly, I think I know which one.

John Pavlovitz

Bill Sanders

The original version of this Op Ed was published on

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