Political News

House Republican says Trump 'was wrong yesterday in a major way'

Posted July 17, 2018 6:11 a.m. EDT

— A House Republican agreed Tuesday with an assessment that President Donald Trump's news conference with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, amounted to a "bad day for America," joining a number of his GOP colleagues who have rebuked their party's leader.

"I think Trump, President Trump, was wrong yesterday in a major way and I think it was a very embarrassing press conference," Illinois GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger told CNN's John Berman on "New Day."

Standing beside Putin on Monday in Helsinki, Finland, Trump declined to endorse the US government's assessment that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election, saying he doesn't "see any reason why" Russia would be responsible. Trump also touted Putin's vigorous denial of Russia's involvement.

Kinzinger, an Air Force veteran who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, said he stands by the intelligence community's assessment that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election.

"It was a really bad day for the President yesterday," Kinzinger said, who also argued that Trump "basically presented a moral equivalency with Russia."

"I think others will say it's a bad day for America," Berman said.

"Sure, yes," Kinzinger said.

Kinzinger also called on Trump to clarify himself -- not on Twitter -- but "in front of the cameras."

"I really hope the President today clarifies this because I don't think this pro-Russia stuff is necessarily in his heart," Kinzinger said.

The Illinois Republican joins several members of Congress, including some powerful Republicans, who condemned Trump's news conference yesterday.