Republican Congressional leaders joined Democrats in criticizing remarks made Monday in Finland by President Donald Trump, which appeared to side with Russia on the issue of alleged meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
Trump is meeting with Russian president Vladimir Putin in Helsinki. According to multiple news reports, in a tweet, the American president called the ongoing investigations into Russia’s role in the election a “witch hunt.” In reference to whether he believed accusations by the FBI and intelligence agencies that widespread efforts were made to affect the election, he said, “President Putin says it’s not Russia. I don’t see any reason why it would be.”
Pushback came from across the political spectrum.
Former Republican Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich called on Trump to “clarify his remarks.” He went on to say “It is the most serious mistake of his presidency and must be corrected — immediately.”
“This is bizarre and flat-out wrong,” said Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Montana) about Trump’s comments. Republican Speaker of the House Paul Ryan commented “There is no moral equivalence between the United States and Russia, which remains hostile to our most basic values and ideas.”
Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona), who was the 2008 Republican nominee for president, said “No prior president has ever abased himself more abjectly before a tyrant.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said “Russia is not our friend.”
Democrats such as former vice president Joe Biden and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) condemned Trump’s statement as well. “We need our Republican colleagues to stand up for the good of this country,” Schumer said.
Categories: The Wider World