Sen. McCain Slams Trump’s Putin Meeting: “The Most Disgraceful Performance By An American President In Memory”
Critics across the political spectrum were outraged by President Donald Trump’s conciliatory stance towards Russia in what Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) has since denounced as “one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in memory.”
On Monday, Trump met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Finland, to discuss a number of pressing issues straining the two countries’ relationship. The pair then held a press conference shortly afterward during which McCain notes, they “seemed to be speaking from the same script.”
“[Trump] made a conscious choice to defend a tyrant against the fair questions of a free press, and to grant Putin an uncontested platform to spew propaganda and lies to the world,” said McCain.
Trump has come under fire for his refusal to pointedly confront Russia on a number of serious issues concerning U.S. and international security. When asked about Russia’s widely condemned annexation of Crimea in 2014, Putin noted that while Trump was against the decision, it was simply a matter of differing viewpoints. The supposed agree to disagree standpoint suggests that Trump did not push for any further action to be taken in spite of Russia’s blatant violation of international law. His failure to do so means that as a representative for the American people, the “president failed to defend all that makes us who we are — a republic of free people dedicated to the cause of liberty at home and abroad,” said McCain.
The president also once again denounced the Mueller probe as “a disaster for our country.” This comes just two days after the Justice Department indicted 12 Russian intelligence officers for hacking into the DNC in a “sustained effort” to meddle in the 2016 election. In response, Trump insinuated that despite the evidence, he still placed greater trust in Russia based on Putin’s word alone.
“I have great confidence in my intelligence officers, but I will tell you President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today,” said Trump. “[Putin] just said it’s not Russia… I don’t see any reason why it would be.”
Some have since regarded the belly up approach as a selfish and naive effort to win the personal affection of the Russian president rather than make a hard-line push for necessary action.
“These were the deliberate choices of a president who seems determined to realize his delusions of a warm relationship with Putin’s regime without any regard for the true nature of his rule…,” observed McCain.
Check out McCain’s full statement on the Helsinki summit below:
“Today’s press conference in Helsinki was one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in memory. The damage inflicted by President Trump’s naiveté, egotism, false equivalence, and sympathy for autocrats is difficult to calculate. But it is clear that the summit in Helsinki was a tragic mistake.
President Trump proved not only unable, but unwilling to stand up to Putin. He and Putin seemed to be speaking from the same script as the president made a conscious choice to defend a tyrant against the fair questions of a free press, and to grant Putin an uncontested platform to spew propaganda and lies to the world.
It is tempting to describe the press conference as a pathetic rout – as an illustration of the perils of under-preparation and inexperience. But these were not the errant tweets of a novice politician. These were the deliberate choices of a president who seems determined to realize his delusions of a warm relationship with Putin’s regime without any regard for the true nature of his rule, his violent disregard for the sovereignty of his neighbors, his complicity in the slaughter of the Syrian people, his violation of international treaties, and his assault on democratic institutions throughout the world.
Coming close on the heels of President Trump’s bombastic and erratic conduct towards our closest friends and allies in Brussels and Britain, today’s press conference marks a recent low point in the history of the American Presidency. That the president was attended in Helsinki by a team of competent and patriotic advisors makes his blunders and capitulations all the more painful and inexplicable.
No prior president has ever abased himself more abjectly before a tyrant. Not only did President Trump fail to speak the truth about an adversary; but speaking for America to the world, our president failed to defend all that makes us who we are—a republic of free people dedicated to the cause of liberty at home and abroad. American presidents must be the champions of that cause if it is to succeed. Americans are waiting and hoping for President Trump to embrace that sacred responsibility. One can only hope they are not waiting totally in vain.”