Donald Trump’s performance at a joint press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin is being heavily criticized as he failed to address the elephant in the room and confront Putin over the meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
Trump received heavy criticism from lawmakers of both political parties.
Republican Senator Lindsey Graham claimed that Trump “missed” the opportuinity.
He said it was a “missed opportunity by President Trump to firmly hold Russia accountable for 2016 meddling and deliver a strong warning regarding future elections.”
Graham added that “This answer by President Trump will be seen by Russia as a sign of weakness and create far more problems than it solves.”
House Speaker Paul Ryan also criticized the U.S. president.
“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,” Ryan said.
John McCain, another Republican, also called out Trump, claiming that the summit with Putin was “a tragic mistake.”
Democrats also slammed Trump.
Top House of Representatives Democrat Nancy Pelosi wrote on Twitter:
“Every single day, I find myself asking: what do the Russians have on @realDonaldTrump personally, financially, & politically? The answer to that question is that only thing that explains his behavior & his refusal to stand up to Putin.”
Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer criticized Trump’s approach in Helsinki, calling it unprecedented.
“For the president of the United States to side with President Putin against American law enforcement, American defense officials, and American intelligence agencies is thoughtless, dangerous, and weak,” Schumer said.
Republican Senator Jeff Flake called Trump’s words “shameful.”
“I never thought I would see the day when our American President would stand on the stage with the Russian President and place blame on the United States for Russian aggression. This is shameful,” Flake said on Twitter.
Senior Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff, said Trump’s actions at the summit gives Russia the “green light to interfere” in 2018 congressional elections. Schiff added that Trump “cowardly.”
Republican Bob Corker said that Trump looked like a “pushover” at the summit.