There’s a common refrain that I’ve already begun to see on social media in the wake of the press conference today with President Trump and President Putin following their two-hour meeting: That is an appalling day in America. Here’s a sampling of responses.
Donald Trump’s press conference performance in Helsinki rises to & exceeds the threshold of “high crimes & misdemeanors.” It was nothing short of treasonous. Not only were Trump’s comments imbecilic, he is wholly in the pocket of Putin. Republican Patriots: Where are you???— John O. Brennan (@JohnBrennan) July 16, 2018
From a national security expert who has supported President Trump: “Played like a fiddle. Unmitigated disaster. Embarrassing.”— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) July 16, 2018
Anderson Cooper calls Trump's performance "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"— jimrutenberg (@jimrutenberg) July 16, 2018
Trump asked just now who he believes, his own intelligence agencies or Putin.— Joe Walsh (@WalshFreedom) July 16, 2018
He won't answer. But he speaks more favorably of Putin. TRUMP WON'T STAND WITH HIS OWN COUNTRY.
That's it. That should be the final straw. It is for me.
Considering that the bar for success for the Putin-Trump Summit was effectively simply "not committing actual treason," it's amazing how much worse and more disgusting this is than imagined….— Garrett M. Graff (@vermontgmg) July 16, 2018
This is just a really sad day for the United States.— Jon Favreau (@jonfavs) July 16, 2018
As Hannah Sole stated, “Watching May eat shit on Friday was mortifying. This was … like a bully who thinks he’s winning but he’s not paying attention and someone is sneaking up behind him about to club him over the head.”
The press conference was every bit as awful as you’d expect, and probably even worse. I’m not sure where to start here, but I think what stands out the most is that the President of the United States opted to believe President Putin over his own intelligence community.
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) July 16, 2018
Not once did Trump challenge Putin on anything. Instead, he attacked Democrats. He brought up the Hillary Clinton servers. It was like 2016 all over again — “but her emails!” — only Donald Trump was stating as much in front of the goddamn President of Russia.
Trump not only threw the intelligence community under the bus, he blamed the strained relationship between Russia and the United States (which goes back roughly 100 years, by the way) on Bob Mueller.
Trump just now, in front of the world: The Mueller probe is to blame. Not Russia.— Joe Walsh (@WalshFreedom) July 16, 2018
Trump repeats that the Mueller probe is responsible for trouble in the Russian-American relationship, not Russia’s intervention in the election: “The probe is a disaster for our country. It’s kept us separated."— Peter Baker (@peterbakernyt) July 16, 2018
He suggested that, as of four hours ago, the relationship between the U.S. and Russia has never been better; he called Putin a “competitor,” and said he meant it as a compliment. He reiterated support for a joint cybersecurity effort. Trump even took it on the chin when Putin criticized Trump for ditching the Iran deal and didn’t bother to counterpunch. Trump also seemed to support this idea proposed by Putin that Mueller could come to Russia and be present for the questioning of the 12 Russian military officers he charged — if the U.S. agrees to let Russia interrogate Americans. WHAT?
"It's like inviting a criminal to help you solve a crime they committed." That's a Republican ***FOX NEWS*** analyst reacting to Trump's suggestion that Putin will work with them on cybersecurity.— Ian Sams (@IanSams) July 16, 2018
The only two people who acquitted themselves well in that press conference were the two American reporters — from Reuters and the AP — who challenged Putin far more than Trump did. Trump, in fact, blamed “both sides” for the strained relationship between the two countries, but did not point to any single thing for which Russia is responsible.
Appalling. Embarrassing. Humiliating. America just got owned by the President of Russia on the world stage.
Hell, here’s FOX NEWS calling the press conference “disgusting.”
Neil Cavuto of Fox Business calls Trump's press conference "disgusting", "That sets us back a lot." pic.twitter.com/R2ZIjyFyPR— Axios (@axios) July 16, 2018
It’s worth noting, too, that asked about whether Putin has any compromising material on Trump, he never actually denied it.