Finn Family Moomintroll never prepared us for Comrade Trump’s exciting conclusion to the You’re The Puppet World Tour. And the reviews are in!
(In alpha order…)
- Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC): Vladimir Putin is not our friend and never has been. Nor does he want to be our friend. His regime’s actions prove it. We must make clear that the United States will not tolerate hostile Russian activities against us or our allies.”
- Fox Business host Neil Cavuto: “That’s what made his performance disgusting. I’m sorry its the way I feel. It’s not a right or left thing, it’s just wrong. A U.S. president on foreign soil talking to our biggest enemy, or adversary, or competitor … is essentially letting the guy get away with this and not even offering a mild criticism, that set’s us back a lot.”
- CNN host Anderson Cooper: “You have been watching perhaps one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president at a summit in front of a Russian leader certainly that I’ve ever seen. An extraordinary press conference.”
- Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC): “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. … if it were me, I’d check the soccer ball [that Putin gave Trump] for listening devices and never allow it in the White House.”
- Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA): “For the president to cast doubt is not unreasonable … Having said that, Putin is an evil man.”
- Rep. Pete King (R-NY): “[I] strongly disagree” with Trump’s statement that Russia did not interfere in the 2016 election. “[I’m] disappointed, not flabbergasted.” King added that having Russia cooperate with Special Counsel Robert Mueller “would be like bringing ISIS into a joint terrorism task force.”
- Sen. John McCain (R-AZ): “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.”
- NYTimes reporter Katie Rogers: “Part of me thinks that all Americans, no matter their politics, are patriotic enough, and many believe in the exceptional nature of their country enough (whether that’s right or wrong), to not take kindly to being blamed for a bad relationship with Russia by their own president.”
- House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI): “There is no question that Russia interfered in our election and continues attempts to undermine democracy here and around the world. That is not just the finding of the American intelligence community but also the House Committee on Intelligence. The president must appreciate that Russia is not our ally. There is no moral equivalence between the United States and Russia, which remains hostile to our most basic values and ideals. The United States must be focused on holding Russia accountable and putting an end to its vile attacks on democracy.”
- Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE): “This is bizarre and flat-out wrong. The United States is not to blame. America wants a good relationship with the Russian people but Vladimir Putin and his thugs are responsible for Soviet-style aggression. When the President plays these moral equivalence games, he gives Putin a propaganda win he desperately needs.”
- Axios’ Jonathan Swan: “I just have no words. As press in this room, we are all sitting in here speechless and stunned. Trump cast doubt over the U.S. intelligence community and endorsed Putin’s denial. Trump was given an opportunity to denounce the meddling and he didn’t; he just pivoted to lines about the missing server and Hillary’s emails. While Putin spoke forcefully, lying, Trump nodded along. There’s no way of sugar coating or spinning this.”
When you lose an amoral traitor like amply be-chinned Mitch McConnell (“The Russians are not our friends and I entirely agree with the assessment of our intelligence community”), well, it must feel like when LBJ realized that losing Walter Cronkite meant it was all over.
UPDATE 1: Tiger Beat has more.
New York Times columnist Charles M. Blow was among the first to apply the “T” word to the president in a prescient Monday piece titled “Trump, Treasonous Traitor,” which appeared just hours before the presser. “It was nothing short of treasonous,” former CIA Director John Brennan tweetedof Trump’s press conference performance. “I’m so sorry the Commander-in-chief is a traitor,” tweeted Michael Moore, agreeing with Brennan for the first time ever. Tea Party stalwart Joe Walsh said the same. “Trump the Traitor,” read the headline on Boston Globe columnist Michael A. Cohen’s Monday afternoon piece. He concluded, “Trump is a clear and present danger to US national security.”
Other voices from both parties concurred without actually using the T-word. Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) called Trump’s kowtowing to Putin “shameful.” In a statement, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said Trump had “abased himself … abjectly before a tyrant.” “Disgraceful,” wrote Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.). “Shameful,” wrote Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.). “Indefensible,” wrote former U.N. Ambassador Samantha Power. “Useful idiot,” wrote journalist David Corn. “Disgraceful,” reiterated CNN anchor Anderson Cooper. “Dangerous and reckless,” wrote Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.). “Donald Trump is either an asset of Russian intelligence or really enjoys playing one on TV,” wrote New York Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman. American academic and diplomat Eliot A. Cohen added this on Twitter, “The word treason is so strong that we must use it carefully. But that press conference has brought the President of the United States right up to that dark, dark shore.”