Fox News hosts take Trump to task after Putin summit (Politico link): President Donald Trump usually turns to Fox News and the Fox Business Network when he wants to hear pundits defend his policies and behavior, but he probably would not have liked what he saw on Monday following his joint press conference with Russian leader Vladimir Putin.
Directly after the press conference, Fox Business host Neil Cavuto, who also hosts a daily show on Fox News, called Trump’s performance “disgusting.” Referring to Trump’s refusal to side with US intelligence agencies and his own Department of Justice over allegations that Putin ordered a Russian interference scheme in the 2016 elections, Cavuto said Trump “is essentially letting the guy get away with this and not even offering a mild criticism. That sets us back a lot.”
Lawmakers and pundits were left reeling by the joint appearance Monday, in which Trump also indicated that the U.S. was to blame for tensions between the two nations and suggested the countries work together on cybersecurity, even after special counsel Robert Mueller's team indicted 12 Russians last week for their roles in hacking Democratic computer systems in 2016.
On CNN, the reactions to Trump’s remarks were stark. "You have been watching 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," anchor Anderson Cooper said immediately after the press conference ended. Co-host John King referred to the meeting as a "surrender summit."
On Monday, even for members of his own party, Mr. Trump apparently went too far.
The president’s extraordinary news conference with Mr. Putin in Helsinki, Finland, stunned Republicans across the ideological spectrum and the party’s political apparatus, leaving them struggling to respond after the president undermined his national intelligence director, blamed both the United States and Russia for poor relations between the two countries and seemingly agreed to Mr. Putin’s suggestion that Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel, cooperate with Russia.
Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, declared, “No prior president has ever abased himself more abjectly before a tyrant.” Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker and Trump adviser, declared the news conference “the most serious mistake of his presidency.” Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee and current Senate candidate from Utah, called it “disgraceful and detrimental to our democratic principles.”
The effect extended far beyond official Washington. One local official — Chris Gagin, the chairman of the Republican Party in Belmont County, Ohio — resigned his post, announcing on Twitter that he “did so as a matter of conscience, and my sense of duty.” Neil Cavuto, a Fox Business Network host, called Mr. Trump’s performance “disgusting,” adding, “I’m sorry, it’s the only way I feel. It’s not a right or left thing to me, it’s just wrong.”
“In the entire history of our country, Americans have never seen a president of the United States support an adversary the way President Trump has supported President Putin,” Mr. Schumer said.
He added: “A single, ominous question now hangs over the White House: What could possibly cause President Trump to put the interests of Russia over those of the United States? Millions of Americans will continue to wonder. The only possible explanation for this dangerous behavior is the possibility that President Putin holds damaging information over President Trump.”
"I thought that there was nothing Donald Trump could say that would shock me, but I was wrong. I was just totally shocked at the performance of Donald Trump in Helsinki at a press conference with Vladimir Putin. I just found that it was outrageous," said Brennan to anchor Brian Williams on MSNBC immediately following Trump's press conference in Helsinki, Finland.
"Even when the press gave him an opportunity to hold Russia accountable for anything, he chose to talk about Hillary Clinton, about his election, about servers," Brennan continued. "He criticized American citizens, Secretary Clinton, and others as opposed to really taking advantage of a world stage with all the world’s eyes upon them to point out how unacceptable Russia’s behavior and interference in our election and the elections of other democratic countries around the globe is. But he just shirked those responsibilities."
Walsh, who backed Trump in 2016 but who has been critical of the president’s attacks on law enforcement agencies, wrote on Twitter that he would no longer consider voting for him in 2020.
“Look, I’m no big deal, but today is the final straw for me,” he wrote. “I will never support Trump again. If that makes me a NeverTrumper, so be it.”
Walsh then took things a step farther and said he believed it was possible that Trump’s actions have been treasonous.
“I am a tea party conservative, that will never change,” he wrote. “But Trump was a traitor to this country today. That must not be accepted. Speak out.”
According to an aide close to the North Korean leader, Kim was “devastated” to see images of Trump warmly embracing another dictator in Helsinki on Monday, just one month after jetting off to Singapore to spend a memorable and intense five hours with Kim.
Shortly after their time together, aides close to Kim warned him against becoming emotionally attached to Trump, alerting Kim to press reports linking the American to many other dictators.
“He’s been quoted saying nice things about Xi Jinping and Rodrigo Duterte, to name just two,” one aide said. “Trump could never commit to just one dictator. When it comes to autocrats and strongmen, he’s a total player.”
Still, despite all the red flags, seeing Trump in the clutches of another dictator left Kim “deeply wounded,” aides said.
“Donald Trump said that he and I had a ‘special bond,’ ” Kim reportedly said, choking back tears. “I guess that meant something different to him than it did to me.”