Refresh for updates Even for Twitter. Even for Hollywood. Even for Beltway pundits and Democratic politicians – the social media response to President Donald Trump’s apparent siding with Russia’s Vladimir Putin over United States intelligence agencies has been nearly as astounding as Trump’s history-making words.
Standing next to Putin in Helsinki today, Trump was asked by reporters about Russia’s meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, as outlined Friday in Robert Mueller’s indictment of 12 Russian military officers.
Said Trump: “My people came to me, Dan Coates came to me and some others, they said they think it’s Russia. 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….But I have — I have confidence in both parties.”
By early afternoon Eastern Time, the No.1 trend worldwide on Twitter was #TreasonSummit.
“You have been watching perhaps one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president at a summit in front of a Russian leader truly that I’ve ever seen,” said CNN’s Anderson Cooper on-air after the press conference. MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell thought even that description was too weak, tweeting that Cooper’s “perhaps” and “one of” was “false timid language.”
While Fox News’ Neil Cavuto offered to give Trump “the benefit of the doubt to maybe jet lag and time differences,” he added “but holy moly.” Fox News’ Brit Hume called Trump’s response “a vague and rambling non-answer,” and “lame,” but also noted that Putin’s “interference” had a “negligible effect on the outcome in ‘16…”
Tweeted Fox News’ Abby Huntsman, “No negotiation is worth throwing your own people and country under the bus.”
“Today’s press conference in #Helsinki was one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in memory,” tweeted Sen. John McCain. (Read his full statement at bottom, below).
Here are some of the reactions. Deadline will update throughout the day.
John McCain full statement:
“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.”