York's analysis gives Trump pass

[Columnist] Byron York, in a recent Free Press editorial page commentary, muddies the waters with his praise of the outgoing president's "toughness" on Russia. One would think there had been no wavering, no mixed messages from Trump. In fact, these have been a recurring feature of his presidency. Candidate Trump had shouted "Russia, if you're listening ...," and Russia obliged him.

Trump was not even inaugurated when Michael Flynn began secretive discussions with Russia's U.S. ambassador. The president then blithely accepted at face value personal reassurances from Vladimir Putin (with U.S. officials forbidden to record details) that there had been no meddling in the 2016 presidential election. Trump may have been one of the few to accept this assurance.

Regarding the 2020 election, American security officials gave out fresh warnings about large-scale Russian election interference, only to be contradicted by the president. So, Byron York: What kind of toughness is it toward Russia that is also characterized by deference and refusal to see danger where it exists?

There may have been toughness shown toward Russia by the Trump State Department, but Trump's personal approach was so limp-wristed as to give rise to speculation he was beholden to some unnamed Russian master.

Kenneth Stewart, Lookout Mountain, Georgia


Editorial discounts shifts in voter demographics

The Jan. 20 Free Press editorial ("Black Mayor Unlikely in 2021?") was cynical and reflected an amazing lack of understanding of today's changing electorate.

It was also ironic: Do you read your own newspaper? A front-page story in that very same edition reported on a survey that shows Tennessee as the nation's #1 destination of Americans looking to relocate. My wife and I are among recent transplants, having moved to Chattanooga from upstate New York last year.

The irony of your editorial continued later that same day when two Democrats were sworn in as U.S. senators from the once-deep-red state of neighboring Georgia. Democrats! In Georgia!

Both of these developments reflect the potential of significant demographic changes in this region which, as we just witnessed in Georgia, can affect the outcome of local and statewide elections.

Chattanooga voters are fortunate to have an array of credible and qualified mayoral candidates from which to choose when voting starts next month. That group includes several African Americans, including the very impressive Wade Hinton. Let's not write any of them off just yet.

Frank Maurizio


Candidates would be wise to stay civil

Words matter. Language and the ability to communicate complex thoughts and ideas are a large part of what makes us human. I am asking all candidates for office to consider their rhetoric, please.

I will not vote for any candidate who vows to "fight for me." I can and will choose my own battles, thank you. Instead, I want for all candidates to advocate, propose, debate, discuss, negotiate, heck, even horse-trade, log-roll and back-scratch!

Bringing civility to our political discourse is vital. Children, don't fight!

Paul Mallchok


Columnist Cook proves TDS is 'real,' 'disabling'

Times Free Press columnist David Cook's commentary on page A2 of the Sunday paper was quite informative.

Although painful to read, his overwrought and hysteria-riddled catalog of psychosomatic symptoms and mental anguish convinced me that Trump Derangement Syndrome is very real — and intellectually disabling.

Thanks for the education.

Andy Walker, Signal Mountain