In a short statement Thursday evening, Donald Trump responded to the sanctions on Russia in a manner that was both uncharacteristically concise and characteristically irresponsible.
By Trump's standards, this was a restrained statement. But Trump has set very low standards for himself, so let's not give him too much credit.
Trump was responding to an executive order President Obama signed on Thursday intended to punish Russia for its alleged meddling in the U.S. election in November. Per the executive order, the Obama administration will impose economic sanctions on Russia, expel 35 Russian diplomats from the U.S., and declassify information on Russian intelligence agencies' cyber activities.
It's nice to know that the Trump will break from his standard practice of skipping intelligence briefings, and will instead "meet with leaders of the intelligence community" to learn more about the Obama administration's moves against Russia. But Trump depicts this as some sort of magnanimous concession on his part ("in the interest of our country and its great people..."), and it isn't. Staying appraised on the country's foreign policy is what the president-elect is supposed to do. Trump doesn't get a cookie for doing the bare minimum of what's expected of someone in his position.
BREAKING: Trump, after Obama sanctions Russia, says U.S. should "move on" but vows to meet with intelligence leaders to learn more.— The Associated Press (@AP) December 29, 2016
What's more troubling, though, is the first part of Trump's statement: "It's time for our country to move on to bigger and better things." With this comment, Trump is implying that allegations of foreign interference in a U.S. presidential election simply aren't worth investigating. He provides no rationale for why they wouldn't be, but his language suggests that it's because it involves things that happened in the past.
Needless to say, both this reasoning and the conclusion Trump has drawn from it is ludicrous. The possibility that Russia, or any country, interfered with America's electoral process is an incredibly serious allegation, and needs to be taken seriously by the incoming president. But Trump apparently doesn't think it's all that important. This is just the latest in a long line of troubling statements Trump has made implying that he doesn't place too high of a value on the democratic process.
Nobody can know for certain what's going on in Trump's head. But what seems most likely here is that he doesn't think the alleged Russian hacking should be looked into because he won the election, and such an investigation could potentially damage the legitimacy of his presidency. This is a reckless mindset, and while that kind of recklessness is par for the course for Trump, that doesn't make it any less horrifying to hear from the person who's about to assume the presidency.