Pollster: Trump undermined his 'tough' image during Putin summit

President TrumpDonald John TrumpDavid Axelrod after Ginsburg cancer treatment: Supreme Court vacancy could 'tear this country apart' EU says it will 'respond in kind' if US slaps tariffs on France Ginsburg again leaves Supreme Court with an uncertain future MORE undermined his "tough" persona  during his summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Finland earlier this week, pollster Lee Miringoff said Wednesday.

"The problem with going against Vladimir Putin for Donald Trump is, one of his calling cards is he is tough, he's really making American great again, he's strong," Miringoff, director of the Marist Institute for Public Opinion, told Hill.TV's Joe Concha on "What America's Thinking." 

"He didn't do so well in that arena with Putin, so the sense is, is he doing great deals? What was said in private?" he continued.

"The question is, does he look strong to American people, or has this slightly tarnished that image? That would be where the problem is for Donald Trump." 

Trump faced backlash on Monday after he did not condemn Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election during a joint press conference with Putin, instead appearing to side with the Russian leader's denials.

The president tried to walk back his comments on Tuesday, saying there was a “sort of a double negative" in his comments from Helsinki.

The president then said on Wednesday that Moscow does not pose a threat to the U.S. while arguing that there has never been a president as tough on Russia as him.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Wednesday afternoon sought to clean up Trump's earlier comments, denying that the president said Russia was no longer targeting the U.S.

— Julia Manchester