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Sen. John McCain: Trump-Putin summit was ‘one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in memory’

Senator John McCain (Gage Skidmore/Flickr)
July 17, 2018

President Trump met with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday in Helsinki. The two held a joint press conference that was not well received by one United States Senator.

In a statement released to his website, Republican Sen. John McCain heavily criticized President Trump for his comments.

“Today’s press conference in Helsinki was one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in memory,” McCain said.

The statement continued by railing against Trump for his approach toward Putin and Russia. McCain said damage had been inflicted by Trump’s “naiveté, egotism, false equivalence and sympathy for autocrats.”

McCain said the Trump-Putin summit was “a tragic mistake.”

McCain and other critics of President Trump were responding to Trump’s remark that the current state of relations between the U.S. and Russia was the fault of both nations, the Washington Examiner reported.

Trump also criticized the FBI when asked if U.S. intelligence agencies were more credible than Putin regarding allegations of Russia meddling in the 2016 Presidential election.

“President Trump proved not only unable, but unwilling to stand up to Putin. He and Putin seemed to be speaking from the same script as the President made a conscious choice to defend a tyrant against the fair questions of a free press, and to grant Putin an uncontested platform to spew propaganda and lies to the world,” McCain’s said.

He continued to lambast Trump, then accusing the President of disregarding sovereignty, international treaties and “the slaughter of the Syrian people.”

“It is tempting to describe the press conference as a pathetic rout – as an illustration of the perils of under-preparation and inexperience. But these were not the errant tweets of a novice politician. These were the deliberate choices of a president who seems determined to realize his delusions of a warm relationship with Putin’s regime without any regard for the true nature of his rule, his violent disregard for the sovereignty of his neighbors, his complicity in the slaughter of the Syrian people, his violation of international treaties, and his assault on democratic institutions throughout the world,” McCain said.

He also called the press conference “a recent low point in the history of the American Presidency.”

“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. Americans are waiting and hoping for President Trump to embrace that sacred responsibility. One can only hope they are not waiting totally in vain,” the Senator added.

McCain’s comments mirror those made by politicians on both sides, who also accused the President of putting Putin ahead of the American people.

President Trump released a tweet an hour and a half after McCain’s statement.

“As I said today and many times before, ‘I have GREAT confidence in MY intelligence people.’ However, I also recognize that in order to build a brighter future, we cannot exclusively focus on the past – as the world’s two largest nuclear powers, we must get along,” Trump said.

President Trump maintained that the dialogue at the summit was beneficial for the world, and he would rather pursue peace than politics.