By Tessa Roy, WPRO News and the Associated Press
Rhode Island’s members of Congress, who last week called on President Donald Trump to cancel his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, reacted negatively to their joint appearance in Helsinki, Finland on Monday. They primarily focused on his comments on Russian election meddling.
Trump did not strongly condemn the interference efforts, which U.S. intelligence agencies insist did occur, including hacking of Democratic emails, the subject of last week’s indictment of 12 Russians. Trump said, as he has countless times, there was “no collusion” between his campaign and Russia.
Members of Congress, including some Republicans, criticized Trump’s performance.
Congressman David Cicilline was the first member of Rhode Island’s Congressional delegation to weigh in with a tweet, calling the event “a colossal embarrassment.”
— David Cicilline (@davidcicilline) July 16, 2018
Senator Sheldon Whitehouse said Trump has abandoned “many of our closest allies” in recent days and called the President’s statements at the press conference with Putin “deeply unnerving.”
“The president just stood next to the authoritarian ruler of a hostile power and blamed the state of our bilateral relationship on American ‘foolishness.’ He refused to hold Russia accountable for interference in the 2016 election, and refused to credit the analysis of the U.S. intelligence community over the empty word of Vladimir Putin,” Whitehouse said. “Now more than ever, both parties ought to come together to protect American institutions, like our law enforcement and intelligence communities working hard to hold Russia responsible for its actions. It is clear the president is not willing to protect them himself.”
Congressman Jim Langevin said he was “stunned.”
The fact is that the Russian government attempted to undermine our democracy in 2016. I’m stunned the President refused to acknowledge that on the world stage or defend American interests against Putin. #TrumpPutinSummit https://t.co/dmEplmCMLs
— Jim Langevin (@JimLangevin) July 16, 2018
Senator Jack Reed said Trump “did a real disservice to America” and called Putin an “adversary who hacked our democracy.”
Today, President Trump blamed the U.S., praised Putin, and did a real disservice to America. Such a shocking, dangerous, and weak break from the actions of past Presidents of both parties. Putin is not our friendly 'competitor.' He’s an adversary who hacked our democracy.
— Senator Jack Reed (@SenJackReed) July 16, 2018