Top Republicans Blast Donald Trump For His ‘Shameful’ Press Conference With Vladimir Putin
Top Congressional Republicans blasted President Donald Trump on Monday and Tuesday for his performance during a press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, calling it “shameful” and “disgusting.”
Trump, when asked directly by a reporter to condemn Russia’s attack on the 2016 election, instead praised Putin’s denial, attacked the FBI and went on a rant about missing emails belonging to his 2016 Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton.
“My people came to me — Dan Coats came to me, some others — they said they think it’s Russia,” Trump said, referring to the director of national intelligence. “I have President Putin. He just said it’s not Russia. I will say this: I don’t see any reason why it would be.”
Here’s the video. Trump, asked whether he believes in his own U.S. Intelligence Community or Putin on Russian hacking, Trump responds: “I don’t see any reason why it would be [Russia.]” (via ABC) pic.twitter.com/sKLSeVaqlS
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) 16. Juli 2018
The GOP response came within moments of the press conference ending and top Republicans broke with Trump over Putin comments.
Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska called Trump’s comment that both countries were responsible for the state of the state of U.S.-Russia relations “bizarre and flat-out wrong.”
SASSE: “This is bizarre and flat-out wrong. The United States is not to blame… When the President plays these moral equivalence games, he gives Putin a propaganda win he desperately needs.”
— Ryan Struyk (@ryanstruyk) 16. Juli 2018
Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, a golfing partner of the president, called the event a “missed opportunity” for Trump “to firmly hold Russia accountable for 2016 meddling” and Trump’s refusal to condemn Putin “will be seen by Russia as a sign of weakness.”
Missed opportunity by President Trump to firmly hold Russia accountable for 2016 meddling and deliver a strong warning regarding future elections.
This answer by President Trump will be seen by Russia as a sign of weakness and create far more problems than it solves. (1/3)
— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) 16. Juli 2018
Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona simply described the comments as “shameful.”
I never thought I would see the day when our American President would stand on the stage with the Russian President and place blame on the United States for Russian aggression. This is shameful.
— Jeff Flake (@JeffFlake) 16. Juli 2018
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), a close Trump ally, said in a statement that “Russia interfered in the 2016 election” and we must protect our democracy “regardless what Vladimir Putin says.”
Strong statement from Orrin Hatch’s office on Trump/Putin meeting: pic.twitter.com/Ashf6PioMG
— Herb Scribner (@HerbScribner) 16. Juli 2018
Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona) said the press conference “was one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in memory.”
Today’s press conference in #Helsinki was one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in memory.
— John McCain (@SenJohnMcCain) 16. Juli 2018
House Speaker Paul Ryan said in a statement that “there is no question that Russia interfered in our election and continues attempts to undermine democracy here and around the world.”
Paul Ryan’s statement. pic.twitter.com/j5doFcTZ1S
— Jake Sherman (@JakeSherman) 16. Juli 2018
And other Republicans called Trump’s remarks “outrages,” “an absolute disgrace” and “disgusting.”
It is outrageous, dangerous and ridiculous for an American president to take Putin’s word over the US intelligence community. No American should defend it.
— Matt Mackowiak (@MattMackowiak) 16. Juli 2018
This press conference is an absolute disgrace. Trump won’t even side with America.
What Trump did today was commit treason. He cannot be supported anymore. He is a clear & present danger to America. Republicans can no longer be quiet.
I won’t be quiet. I am done with him.
— Joe Walsh (@WalshFreedom) 16. Juli 2018
Just saw the most depressing, disgusting, toadying, weak, moronic, lie-stuffed, and damn near traitorous public hour in the long history of the American Presidency. A dark day. 1/2
— Mike Murphy (@murphymike) 16. Juli 2018