Ben Shapiro Torches Obama, Briefly Silences Bill Maher With History Lesson on His Own Show


Did President Trump collude with Russian leader Vladimir Putin during the 2016 election and beyond? Bill Maher certainly thinks so. Yet, in just 30 seconds, conservative pundit Ben Shapiro proved that if the Kremlin had their druthers, they’d probably rather have Barack Obama back in place at 1600 Pennsylvania.

Shapiro appeared on Maher’s HBO show Friday, and heavily on the agenda was Trump’s relationship with Putin and Russia, particularly given that Maher and Shapiro are on opposite sides of the debate.

The discussion began after a discussion of whether or not Trump was a thought leader. Shapiro, who describes himself as a “sometimes-Trumper” and has been critical of the president’s character, claimed that he wasn’t.

“Can he have some thoughts?” Maher said.

“I don’t know, can he?” Shapiro asked with a laugh. “You tell me.”

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“Well, it seems like his only thoughts, to me, are to work with Vladimir Putin to make Russia great again,” Maher responded.

“He’s been a lot harsher on Putin than Obama was, by the way,” Shapiro said, drawing incredulity from Maher.

“Not in terms of his rhetoric, in terms of his actions,” Shapiro continued. “He has armed the people of Ukraine with deadly weapons, something which Obama would not do. Two-hundred Russian soldiers were killed in Syria by U.S. forces under Donald Trump, not under Barack Obama, because Barack Obama said to (former Russian President) Dmitry Medvedev that he wanted to provide him with flexibility in 2012. Crimea was annexed under Barack Obama.”

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The history lesson drew a stunned “wow” from Maher, who still didn’t want to believe it.

“This reminds me of when Hitchens used to come on the show and tried to convince me that Saddam Hussein was a radical Islamist when he was actually a secularist,” Maher said, referencing the late journalist and polemicist Christopher Hitchens, who supported the invasion of Iraq and the Bush administration’s agenda in the Middle East in spite of the fact that he was an avowed Trotskyist.

Perhaps the great irony of this is that Maher spent the majority of the interview pointing to direct collusion between the president and Vladimir Putin’s Kremlin without citing anything more than the desultory indictments by the Mueller special counsel and a few tweets by the president.

What was arguably Hitchens’ most famous quote was made in regards to religion, but it bears repurposing here: “What can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence.”

In terms of collusion, the idea that Trump is the Muscovian Candidate isn’t borne out by any evidence to suggest he’s been easy on Putin. Shapiro also neglected to mention the fact that the Trump administration has authorized air strikes on two occasions against the Russian-backed Assad regime in Syria, something that was hardly viewed with unalloyed joy in the halls of the Kremlin.

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Obama, meanwhile, has said he was “very proud” that he had held off striking Syria during his presidency even after drawing a “red line” regarding the use of chemical weapons.

All of this, on balance, is a lot worse for the Putin regime than a few errant tweets or Trump saying he wants Russia back in the G-7. Actions have always mattered more than words in politics, however, even before those words were measured in 280 characters or less.

When it came to actions, Putin loved him some Obama, and he likely would have loved him some Hillary Clinton, too. That’s the evidence, and no amount of aberrant rhetoric can change the facts. When it comes to collusion, perhaps Mr. Maher would do well to listen to Shapiro. If he doesn’t trust Shapiro alone, however, he would also do well to take his late friend’s advice.

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Morristown, New Jersey
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture