The press and GOP has forgotten, we must never forget. On July 16, 2018, the President of the United States sided with Vladimir Putin over the United States while the entire world was watching:
US President Donald Trump, in a stunning rebuke of the US intelligence community, declined on Monday 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.
Instead, Trump — standing alongside Russian President Vladimir Putin — touted Putin’s vigorous denial and pivoted to complaining about the Democratic National Committee’s server and missing emails from Hillary Clinton’s personal account.
“I have great confidence in my intelligence people, but I will tell you that President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today,” Trump said during a joint news conference after he spent about two hours in a room alone with Putin, save for a pair of interpreters.
Trump’s statements amounted to an unprecedented refusal by a US president to believe his own intelligence agencies over the word of a foreign adversary and drew swift condemnation from across the partisan divide.
The press made a big deal of this at the time, as well they should have, but now they have largely moved on.
Also conveniently forgetting about this disgraceful episode are several Republican Senators and Representatives.
Here are some of their reactions to Helsinki:
Senator Bob Corker Tenn.“[Putin] gained a tremendous amount. Here he has been ostracized on the world stage. … It was almost an approval, if you will, a public approval by the greatest nation on earth towards him. … I would guess he’s having caviar right now.”Senator Jeff Flake Ariz.“I never thought I would see the day when our American President would stand on the stage with the Russian President and place blame on the United States for Russian aggression. This is shameful.”Senator Susan Collins Me.“The president’s statements today in Helsinki demonstrate his continued refusal to accept the unanimous conclusions of U.S. intelligence leaders and the bipartisan findings of the Senate Intelligence Committee. This position is untenable and at odds with the forceful response this moment demands.”Senator Lindsey Graham S.C.“If it were me, I’d check the soccer ball for listening devices and never allow it in the White House.”Senator Charles E. Grassley Iowa“President Trump missed an opportunity to publicly press President Putin on whether he would agree to extradite the defendants to the United States to answer the allegations in court.”Senator John McCain Ariz.“No prior president has ever abased himself more abjectly before a tyrant.”Senator Rob Portman Ohio“The president’s comments in today’s press conference were troubling. He failed to stand up to Vladimir Putin on some of the most critical security issues facing our country and our allies.”Senator Tim Scott S.C.“As Americans, we stand up for our interests and values abroad; but I fear today was a step backwards.”Senator Ben Sasse Neb.“This is bizarre and flat-out wrong. The United States is not to blame. America wants a good relationship with the Russian people but Vladimir Putin and his thugs are responsible for Soviet-style aggression. When the president plays these moral equivalence games, he gives Putin a propaganda win he desperately needs.”Senator Patrick J. Toomey Pa.“.@POTUS’ blindness to Putin’s hostile acts against the US and our allies—election meddling included—is very troubling.”Senator Jerry Moran Kan.“The president missed an opportunity to publicly condemn Russia for election interference or offer strong support for the NATO alliance. The problem with our relationship is not American actions but rather Russia’s duplicitous behavior.”Senator Lisa Murkowski Alaska“Sadly President Trump did not defend America to the Russian president, and for the world to see. Instead, what I saw today was not “America First,” it was simply a sad diminishment of our great nation.”Senator Dan Sullivan Alaska“I disagree w/ President’s remarks following Helsinki Summit. Specifically, do I believe the professional and patriotic men and women of our intelligence community, including the Director of National Intelligence, or a mafia regime leader like Putin? It’s not even a close call.”Rep. Paul D. Ryan Wis. 1st Speaker of the House“The president must appreciate that Russia is not our ally.”Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers Wash. 5th Republican Conference Chairwoman“Russia is not a friend to the United States or our allies. There’s no question that they meddled in our election, and all evidence points to Putin’s direct involvement. In order to put America first, the president must hold Russia accountable for their adversarial actions and their continued efforts to undermine our democratic institutions.”Rep. Ed Royce Calif. 39th Chairman, Foreign Affairs Committee“I disagree with the president’s comments. There is simply no comparing the actions of the United States and Vladimir Putin.”Rep. Robert W. Goodlatte Va. 6th Chairman, Judiciary Committee“U.S. intelligence agencies have confirmed Russia’s actions, and the evidence is plentiful. Today’s summit was an opportunity to forcefully address this growing threat directly with President Putin. I am dismayed that we did not see that.”
How soon they’ve all forgotten.
With the exception of the Late Senator McCain and Lisa Murkowski, these GOP Senators all supported Donald Trump’s flawed Supreme Court nominee, a man who could end up helping Trump shut down the Mueller investigation.
Some of these Senators, like Lindsey Graham and Chuck Grassley, have turned into fawning sycophants for Donald Trump.
The GOP seems to have conveniently forgotten about the disgraceful conduct of Donald Trump. The country should remind the GOP about it this November.