Trump Rebuffs Critics, Insists He Had Great Meeting With Putin
President Donald Trump said Tuesday he had a great summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, even as he faced a wave of condemnation for siding with Putin’s denial that Moscow meddled in the 2016 presidential election rather than the U.S. intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia had interfered.
“While I had a great meeting with NATO, raising vast amounts of money, I had an even better meeting with Vladimir Putin of Russia,” Trump said on Twitter. “Sadly, it is not being reported that way – the Fake News is going Crazy!”
While I had a great meeting with NATO, raising vast amounts of money, I had an even better meeting with Vladimir Putin of Russia. Sadly, it is not being reported that way – the Fake News is going Crazy!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 17, 2018
But Speaker Paul Ryan, leader of the Republican majority in the House of Representatives, and other political colleagues of Trump continued to rebuke the stance he took alongside Putin at a closing news conference at Monday’s summit in Helsinki.
“Let’s be very clear: Russia meddled in our election,” Ryan said.
When asked about election meddling during a joint news conference with Putin Monday, Trump said “President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today,” adding that “President Putin says it’s not Russia. I don’t see any reason why it would be.”
A wide array of Republican and Democratic lawmakers condemned Trump’s position, calling it embarrassing, a disgrace and shameful. Late-night comics on U.S. television skewered Trump for failing to stand up to his “boss” Putin in their face-to-face talks.
A Washington Post editorial headline said, “Trump just colluded with Russia. Openly,” while The New York Times asked, “Why Won’t Donald Trump Speak for America? The president lays himself at Vladimir Putin’s feet.” The tabloid New York Post front-page headline said, “See No Evil: Prez gives big Bear hug to wicked BFF Vlad, jabs US intel.”
As I said today and many times before, “I have GREAT confidence in MY intelligence people.” However, I also recognize that in order to build a brighter future, we cannot exclusively focus on the past – as the world’s two largest nuclear powers, we must get along! #HELSINKI2018
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 16, 2018
He added, “I would rather take a political risk in pursuit of peace, than to risk peace in pursuit of politics. A productive dialogue is not only good for the United States and good for Russia, but it is good for the world.”
Some political commentators and Democratic critics of Trump called on his key national security aides to quit in the face of the president saying that he had “confidence” in both Putin and the U.S. intelligence community.
Sen. Chris Murphy, a Connecticut Democrat, asked in a Twitter comment, “If you’re on the Trump national security team, and you’ve been out there saying how strong Trump is on Russia and how serious our commitment is to NATO, how do you not resign after the last four days?” There was no indication, however, that any of Trump’s key aides planned to quit.
Anthony Scaramucci, who briefly served as the Trump’s White House communications director last year, told CNN, “Trump’s made a very big mistake here. He’s got to reverse course immediately.”
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