Editorial: Astonishing! Trump stands up for Putin, fails to defend USA

Tuesday, July 17, 2018 -- President Donald Trump had the chance to show leadership, true guts and patriotism. Instead he wallowed in self-interest. It was almost unimaginable. Standing beside the world's foremost dictator, we witnessed an American president who wilted, and was limp and spineless.

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CBC Editorial: Tuesday, July 17, 2018; Editorial #8323
The following is the opinion of Capitol Broadcasting Company

Watch the simple and direct questions from a reporter to President Donald Trump during a news conference in Helsinki with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

REPORTER: “Just now, President Putin denied having anything to do with the election year interference in 2016. …My first question for you sir is: Who do you believe? My second question is: Would you now, with the whole world watching, tell president Putin that you denounce what happened in 2016 and would you warn him to never do it again?”

Astonishingly, a president of the United States failed to answer either question. He did suggest he believed Putin and failed to stand up for the United States. It is an important piece of history. You must see it and, unfortunately, believe it.

“President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today. And what he did is an incredible offer. He offered to have the people working on the case come and work with their investigators with respect to the 12 people. I think that’s an incredible offer,” Trump said.

This IS the reality of Donald Trump. It is tragic.

It is important that members of Congress, particularly those who represent North Carolina, unequivocally denounce Trump’s aggrandizement of a dictator and his pathetic summit performance.

Some already have.

Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, the one-time prisoner of war who leads the Senate Armed Services Committee, offered an unflinching assessment:
“Today’s press conference in Helsinki was one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in memory. The damage inflicted by President Trump’s naiveté, egotism, false equivalence, and sympathy for autocrats is difficult to calculate. But it is clear that the summit in Helsinki was a tragic mistake. … No prior president has ever abased himself more abjectly before a tyrant. Not only did President Trump fail to speak the truth about an adversary; but speaking for America to the world, our president failed to defend all that makes us who we are—a republic of free people dedicated to the cause of liberty at home and abroad. American presidents must be the champions of that cause if it is to succeed.” It is important to read McCain’s complete statement.
3rd District Republican Rep. Walter Jones: "The ghost of Ronald Reagan must be in shock. The president's press conference today was an embarrassment. The leader of the free world must strongly stand up to those trying to subvert our democracy. We're getting weakness instead."
Republican U.S. Sen. Richard Burr: "The Senate Intelligence Committee has reviewed the 2017 (Intelligence Community) assessment and found no reason to doubt its conclusion that President Putin ordered an influence campaign aimed at the 2016 U.S. elections with the goal of undermining faith in our democratic process. Russia has conducted a coordinated cyberattack on state election systems, and hacked critical infrastructure. They have used social media to sow chaos and discord in our society. They have beaten and harassed U.S. diplomats and violated anti-proliferation treaties. Any statement by Vladimir Putin contrary to these facts is a lie and should be recognized as one by the President. ... Vladimir Putin is not our friend and never has been. Nor does he want to be our friend. His regime’s actions prove it. We must make clear that the United States will not tolerate hostile Russian activities against us or our allies."
Republican U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis: "There cannot be any equivocation: Vladimir Putin is to blame for Russia's poor relations with the United States and the rest of the free world. It is Putin's regime that illegally invaded Crimea, props up Assad's murderous regime in Syria, assassinates dissidents on foreign soil, and meddles in the elections of the United States and its European allies. I've long maintained that America needs to take a strong position when it comes to Russia. While we should work with Russia on the specific instances where our nations share mutual objectives, we must confront Russia when they threaten the interests and well-being of America and its allies. Dialogue is not a bad thing, however, any meaningful improvement in our relationship with Russia must be solely dependent on whether Putin's government starts to behave as a good faith actor on the world stage. Unfortunately, recent history casts serious doubt on if that is even a possibility."
4th District Democratic Rep. David Price: “Three days ago, the FBI indicted 12 Russians for meddling in our election. Today, President Trump sat down with Vladimir Putin and blamed the U.S. for our poor relationship with Russia.”
12th District Rep. Alma Adams: “Today, @realDonaldTrump put Russia first. His actions are unacceptable and we cannot sit silently while he turns his back on our intelligence agencies and our national security. The President's failure to hold Russia accountable is an international embarrassment.”

The rest of North Carolina’s congressional delegation must let their constituents know how they feel. They need to make it clear that a president who lies and feels greater kinship to our adversaries than to our allies, is not someone they will tolerate.

Acknowledging President Trump’s disastrous performance on the most prominent of international stages doesn’t require a partisan political perspective or ideological leaning. It is simply the ability to love a country that nurtures freedom over fear, participation over suppression and truth over propagandistic lies.

President Trump had the chance to show leadership, true guts and patriotism. Instead he wallowed in self-interest.

It was almost unimaginable. Standing beside the world’s foremost dictator, we witnessed an American president who wilted, and was limp and spineless.