President Donald Trump’s performance during a press conference after a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki on Monday left critics of all stripes howling.
Trump refused to blame Putin for Moscow’s interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and told reporters that “both countries” were responsible for the poor state of their relations.
“I think we’ve all been foolish. I think we’re all to blame,” Trump said.
He reiterated that there was no collusion between his presidential campaign and Russia, slammed special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian interference in the election as a “disaster” and shared conspiracy theories about why it’s important for the FBI to take the Democratic National Committee’s computer server.
Putin agreed with Trump on many points, and Trump’s comments drew fierce criticism from Republicans and Democrats alike.
John Brennan, a CIA director under Barack Obama, called Trump’s performance “treasonous.”
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
Moments after the press conference, CNN’s Anderson Cooper said it was “one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president at a summit in front of a Russian leader.”
On Fox Business Network, several guests reacted by saying that Putin outmaneuvered Trump during the summit.
Reaction on Varney's Fox Business show after the press conference is critical of Trump.— Max Tani (@maxwelltani) July 16, 2018
Guest Mark Weinberg: "Putin won. Trump missed the opportunity."
Fox Biz's Ashley Webster: "He outmaneuvered our president. I was very surprised. I thought Trump was going to push hard."
On the channel, the network’s Neil Cavuto termed Trump’s performance “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
The Drudge Report, a top conservative news site often friendly in its coverage of Trump, featured the headline “Putin Dominates In Hel.”
George W. Bush’s press secretary Ari Fleischer, who often defends Trump, said he can understand why some Democrats believe Putin must have compromising information on Trump.
I continue to believe there was no collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. But when Trump so easily and naively accepts Putin’s line about not being involved, I can understand why Ds think Putin must have the goods on him.— Ari Fleischer (@AriFleischer) July 16, 2018
Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) called Trump’s trip to Europe, which included contentious stops in the U.K. and Belgium, as “one giant middle finger” to the U.S.
This entire trip has just been one giant middle finger from President Trump to his own country. Just jaw dropping. https://t.co/pH2GzgpALJ— Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) July 16, 2018
Meghan McCain, a co-host of ABC’s “The View” and a daughter of Sen. John
McCain (R-Ariz.), tweeted that she was “horrified” by the press
I don’t have anything quippy to tweet. I’m horrified - and have never been more proud of the fact that Putin hates my father so much he personally sanctioned him on Russia’s enemies list.— Meghan McCain (@MeghanMcCain) July 16, 2018
Former Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, a Republican, said Trump
“failed America today.”
“It’s a sad day for America,” Hagel said Monday during an appearance
on CNN. “It’s a sad day for the world.”
Former Republican Senator (and Defense Secretary under Obama) Chuck Hagel just now on CNN: "President Trump failed America today. He failed America, our interests today, in every way" // "Sad day for America. Sad day for the world"— Chris Donovan (@chrisdonovan) July 16, 2018
Hayley Miller contributed reporting.
Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly referred to Fox Business Network as Fox News Business.
- This article originally appeared on HuffPost.