Now fully alert, I’m making the rounds of TV and the print media. So far, Mike Pence has defended Trump’s performance in Helsinki, but that seems to be about it. Here’s a quick roundup:
- On CNN they are openly talking about whether the pee tape is real.
- Michael Anton — a diehard Trump supporter who worked at the White House until recently — cancelled his appearance on CNN because he said he couldn’t defend Trump.
- Conservative journalist Byron York on Fox: “Putin wasn’t taking the side of the US intelligence service. That’s a significant mistake.”
- Anderson Cooper: “Perhaps one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president at a Russian summit ever.”
President Trump must clarify his statements in Helsinki on our intelligence system and Putin. It is the most serious mistake of his presidency and must be corrected—-immediately.
— Newt Gingrich (@newtgingrich) July 16, 2018
- John King: “You should call this the surrender summit.”
- Charles Sykes: “On Monday, Trump found that bigger bully and his cowering was the embarrassment heard round the world….Trump’s performance is frequently compared to Neville Chamberlain. But this is unfair to Chamberlain, who, although deeply wrongheaded, was in fact a serious and patriotic man. Trump’s performance in Helsinki was something else altogether, a performance so servile that we struggle to place it in context, because there are no parallels in the history of the American presidency.”
Donald Trump’s press conference performance in Helsinki rises to & exceeds the threshold of “high crimes & misdemeanors.” It was nothing short of treasonous. Not only were Trump’s comments imbecilic, he is wholly in the pocket of Putin. Republican Patriots: Where are you???
— John O. Brennan (@JohnBrennan) July 16, 2018
- Sen. John McCain: “No prior president has ever abased himself more abjectly before a tyrant.”
- Sen. Bob Corker: “I did not think this was a good moment for our country.”
- Sen. Jeff Flake: “This is shameful.”
- Thomas Friedman: “Such behavior by an American president is so perverse, so contrary to American interests and values, that it leads to only one conclusion: Donald Trump is either an asset of Russian intelligence or really enjoys playing one on TV.”
- Paul Ryan: “The president must appreciate that Russia is not our ally. There is no moral equivalence between the United States and Russia, which remains hostile to our most basic values and ideals.”
- CNN chief national security correspondent Jim Sciutto: “A sad and dangerous day for America.”
- State Department: Nothing. The entire department went dark today.
That’s a sampling from journalists and conservatives. You can probably guess what Democrats had to say about all this.