Senators Bob Menendez and Cory Booker, and Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, the federal legislators who represent Verona, criticized President Donald Trump for dismissing U.S. intelligence community findings of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election during his press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin today.
Menendez (D-NJ) the ranking member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, said that the president “rejected his solemn duty to uphold and defend American values” and called on Republicans to join Democrats in a bipartisan response:
“The incoherent and appallingly self-serving circus in Helsinki today was as predictable as it was avoidable,” Menendez said in a statement. “The President rejected his solemn duty to uphold and defend American values, ideals and citizens. Instead, he called the United States ‘foolish’ and praised Putin’s meddling denial as ‘strong and powerful’. Today the President unabashedly rejected facts from the United States intelligence community and members of his own Administration that Russia is actively seeking to undermine American democracy. In short, the President chose to side with a foe determined to challenge American power, influence, and security interests at home and abroad.
“How does this put America first, or make America great again?
“Presidents Trump and Putin were not wrong in saying that there are many issues—nuclear non-proliferation, Syria, and Ukraine, to name just a few—on which our countries do not see eye-to-eye and which may merit further dialogue. However, the fiasco today was not about renewing such dialogue, as the President claimed, but rather about his own fragile ego.
“This is a watershed moment. Congressional Republicans need to realize these types of global embarrassments are far costlier and more damaging to our nation’s standing than having their domestic agenda adopted and signed into law by a President of their own party. They must stand with us to contain a President who places his own insecurities about his electoral victory above the responsibilities of his office and the rights of all Americans.”
Retweet if you think it’s despicable for an American President to trust Vladimir Putin over U.S. intelligence. pic.twitter.com/PyafQOCBAH
— Senator Bob Menendez (@SenatorMenendez) July 16, 2018
Booker (D-NJ) was equally emphatic in a post on Twitter: “It’s a fact that Russia attacked our democracy in 2016 to influence the presidential election in favor of Trump. Today Trump sided with Putin over our own intelligence & law enforcement officials & blamed the US for Russia’s attacks. Every American should be outraged. #Helsinki”
It’s a fact that Russia attacked our democracy in 2016 to influence the presidential election in favor of Trump. Today Trump sided with Putin over our own intelligence & law enforcement officials & blamed the US for Russia’s attacks. Every American should be outraged. #Helsinki
— Cory Booker (@CoryBooker) July 16, 2018
Frelinghuysen (R-NJ11), who has often been supportive of the president, broke ranks today, saying in a statement on his website that “It is unacceptable that the President of the United States would deny the findings of our own intelligence community on Russian meddling in the last election and then fail to publicly demand an end to these attacks on our democracy. The American people have every right to be upset!”