President TrumpDonald TrumpGOP grapples with chaotic Senate primary in Pennsylvania Trump social media startup receives commitment of billion from unidentified 'diverse group' of investors Iran thinks it has the upper hand in Vienna — here's why it doesn't MORE on Monday drew critical reviews from media analysts and pundits across the political spectrum for his performance during a joint press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Trump did not press or condemn Putin on the allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential race, just days after indictments were delivered against 12 Russian intelligence officers for their alleged role in the hacking of the Democratic National Committee.
Instead, he asserted that he did not collude with Russia in the election, recounted his victory over Democratic nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonRepublican Ohio Senate candidate slams JD Vance over previous Trump comments Budowsky: Why GOP donors flock to Manchin and Sinema Countering the ongoing Republican delusion MORE and called special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerAn unquestioning press promotes Rep. Adam Schiff's book based on Russia fiction Senate Democrats urge Garland not to fight court order to release Trump obstruction memo Why a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG MORE's investigation "ridiculous" and a source of tension between the two countries.
Numerous analysts and reporters on CNN, which Trump has long targeted with insults and taunts, tore into Trump's performance.
Anderson Cooper, who anchored CNN's coverage from Helsinki, Finland, before and after the press conference, declared it "perhaps one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president at a summit in front of a Russian leader that I have ever seen."
"You have been watching perhaps one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president at a summit in front of a Russian leader certainly than I've ever seen." - Anderson Cooper on Trump-Putin summit pic.twitter.com/xHbmAZl0y3— Keith Boykin (@keithboykin) July 16, 2018
John King, a network anchor, labeled the meeting the "surrender summit."
David Gergen, a former adviser in the Nixon, Ford, Reagan and Clinton administrations, called it "embarrassing" for Trump to bring up Hillary Clinton's emails and the 2016 election on the international stage.
“I’ve never heard an American president talk that way, but I think it’s especially true that when he’s with someone like Putin — who is a thug, a world-class thug — that he sides with him again and again against his own country’s interests,” Gergen said.
NBC's Chuck Todd, whom Trump has individually targeted with insults in the past, said Putin had "outmaneuvered" the U.S.
"Today’s performance will be seen by some as circumstantial evidence," Todd added.
Today’s performance will be seen by some as circumstantial evidence.— Chuck Todd (@chucktodd) July 16, 2018
Meghan McCain, a host on ABC's "The View" and the daughter of Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainThe bully who pulls the levers of Trump's mind never learns GOP senators appalled by 'ridiculous' House infighting MSNBC's Nicolle Wallace, Chris Christie battle over Fox News MORE (R-Ariz.), tweeted that she was "horrified" by the scene that played out.
"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," she said.
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
Fox News, which is normally friendlier territory for the president, was also largely critical of Trump's performance.
Bret Baier called the press conference "surreal."
What part — I called it surreal. Thanks https://t.co/YSGNGjLZXJ— Bret Baier (@BretBaier) July 16, 2018
Fox News analyst Brit Hume called Trump’s reference to the probe into Clinton’s private email server to deflect questions about Russian interference a “lame response, to say the least.”
Trump, finally asked whom he believes on Russia interference, gives a vague and rambling non-answer, with renewed complaints about Hillary’s server. Says he trusts US intel but made clear he takes Putin’s denials seriously. Lame response, to say the least.— Brit Hume (@brithume) July 16, 2018
Fox Business Network's Neil Cavuto laid into Trump, calling it “disgusting” that the president did not confront Putin.
“It’s not a right or left thing. It’s just wrong,” Cavuto said, adding that Trump failed to offer “even a mild criticism.”
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
Guy Benson, a Fox News contributor, called it "easily one of [Trump's] worst days as president."
Appalling moral equivalence & equivocation — rooted in an embarrassing, juvenile, insecure, consuming obsession over his own legitimacy. Easily one of his worst days as president. And again, juxtapose that performance with how he just treated our European & North American allies.— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) July 16, 2018
Ari Fleischer, a former aide in the George W. Bush administration and a Fox News contributor, said Trump's acceptance of Putin's denials gives him a better understanding for why Democrats "think Putin must have the goods on him."
"Something tells me Trump’s easy acceptance of Putin’s POV will send his critics into an even higher state of hysterics," Fleischer tweeted. "Trump’s supporters will not be moved. And the few people left in the middle like me think he should have been tougher on Putin, but we’ll wait for Mueller."
Something tells me Trump’s easy acceptance of Putin’s POV will send his critics into an even higher state of hysterics. Trump’s supporters will not be moved. And the few people left in the middle like me think he should have been tougher on Putin, but we’ll wait for Mueller.— Ari Fleischer (@AriFleischer) July 16, 2018
Trump is scheduled to sit down for interview with Fox News hosts Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson before departing Helsinki for Washington, D.C.
Both men are staunch supporters of the president, and Hannity reportedly speaks often with Trump. Hannity's interview will air on Monday night, while Carlson's will air Tuesday night.
Putin on Monday denied that his country interfered in the 2016 election during his talks with Trump and said he wanted Trump to win because he spoke of improving relations between the two countries.
While the U.S. intelligence community has previously determined that Russia interfered with the presidential election, Trump declined to back that conclusion.
"My people came to me, [Director of National Intelligence] Dan CoatsDaniel (Dan) Ray CoatsAn independent commission should review our National Defense Strategy Overnight Hillicon Valley — Scrutiny over Instagram's impact on teens Former national security officials warn antitrust bills could help China in tech race MORE and some others, they said they think it’s Russia," Trump said. "I have President Putin, he just said it’s not Russia. I will say this, I don’t see any reason why it would be."
"But I have confidence in both parties," he added.