Republicans rebuked President Donald Trump over his comments at a joint press conference on Monday with Russian President Vladimir Putin, during which he sided with Putin and his denials that Russia had interfered with the U.S. election in 2016.
Rejecting the consensus of 19 U.S. intelligence agencies and Special Counsel Robert Mueller, Trump said that the “Russian state has never interfered and is not going to interfere in internal American affairs.” He added that Putin’s denial was “extremely strong and powerful,” immediately setting off a firestorm of criticism on Twitter by members of his own party, who said that he was naive and had been played by Putin.
Here’s what Trump’s Republican critics had to say:
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI)
JUST IN: Paul Ryan contradicts Trump’s comments cozying up to Putin. pic.twitter.com/baxw6kXiJX— Peter Alexander (@PeterAlexander) July 16, 2018
Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE)
Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ)
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.— Jeff Flake (@JeffFlake) July 16, 2018
Rep. Jusin Amash (R-MI)
A person can be in favor of improving relations with Russia, in favor of meeting with Putin, and still think something is not right here.— Justin Amash (@justinamash) July 16, 2018
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.— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) July 16, 2018
This answer by President Trump will be seen by Russia as a sign of weakness and create far more problems than it solves. (1/3)
Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY)
As a member of the House Armed Services Committee, I am deeply troubled by President Trump’s defense of Putin against the intelligence agencies of the U.S. & his suggestion of moral equivalence between the U.S. and Russia. Russia poses a grave threat to our national security.— Liz Cheney (@Liz_Cheney) July 16, 2018
Ari Fleischer, press secretary for former President George W. Bush Press Secretary, and Fox News contributor
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
Mike Murphy, GOP strategist
Just saw the most depressing, disgusting, toadying, weak, moronic, lie-stuffed, and damn near traitorous public hour in the long history of the American Presidency. A dark day. 1/2— Mike Murphy (@murphymike) July 16, 2018
Abby Huntsman, Fox News anchor and “Fox & Friends” co-host
No negotiation is worth throwing your own people and country under the bus.— Abby Huntsman (@HuntsmanAbby) July 16, 2018
Meghan McCain, Republican ABC Politics analyst, co-host of The View
McCain is the daughter of Republican Sen, John McCain of Arizona, who has been outspoken about his displeasure with President Trump.
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
Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats
At Monday’s press conference following the summit, Trump said he has confidence both in Putin and Coats, America’s top intelligence officer.