It’s a pretty scary day in America when your president won’t stand up to the leader of a nation that has launched a prolonged cyber attack on your government. In other words: It’s Monday in America.
To cap off a week of international “diplomacy” (we use the word loosely), Donald Trump traveled to Helsinki, Finland to meet with Russian President (and election hacker/former KGB agent) Vladimir Putin to discuss… Well, no one was really clear on what the meeting was for. Just that both parties wanted to have one. Off to a great start.
In the lead-up to the meeting, the media, the Democrats, American citizens and even Trump’s own party were concerned that the president wasn’t going to push Putin on the Russia hacking issue. It’s been over a year since U.S. intelligence agencies proved that there was Russian interference in the election and that Russian operatives hacked and leaked emails from the Democratic party in 2016. To make things even worse, the Mueller investigation into Russia’s potential collusion with the Trump camp indicted 12 Russian hackers in connection with the breach just days before this meeting. The resigned expectation was that Trump would avoid the issue, even though it is a significant attack on American sovereignty.
.@POTUS: I really think the world wants to see us get along. We are the two great nuclear powers. We have 90% of the nuclear, and that’s not a good thing, it’s a bad thing. https://t.co/afwWRC0nGS pic.twitter.com/qqXEMNODuQ
— CBS News (@CBSNews) July 16, 2018
After a one-on-one meeting during which Trump and Putin met privately with only their translators present and a working lunch, the two leaders reemerged to take questions from the press. It was clear from the beginning who was running operations. Spoiler: it wasn’t Donald Trump.
“Every US Intelligence agency has concluded that Russia did. My first question for you, sir, is who do you believe?”
Here’s Trump’s answer. pic.twitter.com/Alj8bJFJrQ
— Meg Wagner (@megwagner) July 16, 2018
A national security expert who has supported President Trump, tells @jaketapper that the President was, “Played like a fiddle. Unmitigated disaster. Embarrassing,” after his performance with Russian President Putin https://t.co/BVsQLmPtvo pic.twitter.com/t2sQsaJMPF
— The Lead CNN (@TheLeadCNN) July 16, 2018
That is the president of the United States refusing to condemn a proven attack by a foreign government on their democratic process. By extension, he is telling Putin and the world that he believes the shady Russian president over his own intelligence agencies. That’s a dangerous and deeply damaging precedent to set.
Americans were disappointed, embarrassed, outraged and a whole host of other negative adjectives.
I don’t even know what to say. Today was a disgrace. @realDonaldTrump embarrassed America and should be ashamed of himself. Shame on anyone who chooses to ignore Russia’s interference in our democracy for the sake of Trump’s political well-being. I’m at a complete loss.
— Chris Evans (@ChrisEvans) July 16, 2018
This moron, puppet, coward sided with Putin over our own intelligence agencies! On a world stage!! BASED ON NOTHING MORE THAN PUTIN’S WORD! Why?? Can ANYONE answer that?? What the hell is happening. Politics aside, this is 100% un-American. Where are you @GOP????
— Chris Evans (@ChrisEvans) July 16, 2018
Anderson Cooper calls that press conference one of the most “disgraceful performances by an American president” ever.
— Kaitlan Collins (@kaitlancollins) July 16, 2018
Treason. Right in front of our salads.
— Quinta (@quintabrunson) July 16, 2018
This press conference was a catastrophic mistake by the Trump White House. I cannot believe how bad @realDonaldTrump’s answers are. He looks pathetic.
— Tommy Vietor (@TVietor08) July 16, 2018
Trump needs to be removed from office. He’s made it abundantly clear he doesn’t work for the American people.
— John Legend (@johnlegend) July 16, 2018
Today’s press conference in #Helsinki was one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in memory.
— John McCain (@SenJohnMcCain) July 16, 2018
Paul Ryan’s statement. pic.twitter.com/j5doFcTZ1S
— Jake Sherman (@JakeSherman) July 16, 2018
So not a great day for the American people. But on the plus side, Putin offered POTUS an official soccer ball from the World Cup that just concluded in Russia. Cool.
This happened pic.twitter.com/0iope0Qv0C
— Chris Cillizza (@CillizzaCNN) July 16, 2018