From gracious allowances, and unwarranted hysteria, the reactions to the summit between President Donald Trump and Russia Autocrat Vladimir Putin has dominated the airwaves ever since the joint press conference ended on Monday.
Most outrage is being directed at Trump’s comments regarding election meddling, and pointing to Putin’s “strong” denial of interference.
It’s obvious to most who don’t suffer from Trump Derangement Syndrome that the election was not rigged, not a single vote was affected, Trump did not collude with Russians, and he is no one’s puppet.
It is just as obvious that Russia most definitely tried to meddle, that Putin lies through his teeth with ease, and that the former Soviet Union is an inferior nation, led by autocrats hell-bent on puffing their chest on the world stage as much as possible, often against American interests.
The media narrative, though, likes to tease out those things that can damage Trump, and Republicans more generally, irregardless of their own party’s previous forays in snuggling up to the Russians.
Here are the reactions of North Carolina’s lawmakers to the meeting and press conference, with clear lines of distinction between Republicans and Democrats. More subtle lines of distinction exist among Establishment Republicans and the rank and file conservatives.
Senator Richard Burr joined the Establishment chorus on the issue, releasing this statement:
“The Senate Intelligence Committee has reviewed the 2017 IC assessment and found no reason to doubt its conclusion that President Putin ordered an influence campaign aimed at the 2016 U.S. elections with the goal of undermining faith in our democratic process. Russia has conducted a coordinated cyberattack on state election systems, and hacked critical infrastructure. They have used social media to sow chaos and discord in our society. They have beaten and harassed U.S. diplomats and violated anti-proliferation treaties. Any statement by Vladimir Putin contrary to these facts is a lie and should be recognized as one by the President.
“Vladimir Putin is not our friend and never has been. Nor does he want to be our friend. His regime’s actions prove it. We must make clear that the United States will not tolerate hostile Russian activities against us or our allies.”
The Robin to Burr’s Batman, Sen. Thom Tillis also jumped on the dog pile.
“It is Putin’s regime that illegally invaded Crimea, props up Assad’s murderous regime in Syria, assassinates dissidents on foreign soil, and meddles in the elections of the United States and its European allies,” Tillis said in a statement. “Any meaningful improvement in our relationship with Russia must be solely dependent on whether Putin’s government starts to behave as a good faith actor on the world stage.”
Others had different takes:
“This was an opportunity for the president to take a strong stance for American interests and condemn the actions of a foreign adversary,” wrote Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-5th District.
“There is no evidence their efforts had any impact on the outcome or there was any collusion by the Trump campaign,” wrote Rep. Richard Hudson, R-8th District, while noting that he will be a “loud and consistent critic” of Russia’s behavior.
Rep. Walter Jones, R-3rd District: “The ghost of Ronald Reagan must be in shock. The president’s press conference today was an embarrassment. The leader of the free world must strongly stand up to those trying to subvert our democracy. We’re getting weakness instead.”
Rep. Mark Walker, R-6th District: “President Trump should continue to meet with world leaders promoting American interests and working towards peace …. Countering foreign aggressors takes a strong and measured response, not political score-settling.”
Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-10th District: “I believe the conclusions of the American intelligence community and the House Committee on Intelligence that Russia interfered with our elections. Russia is not a friend or ally and they must be held accountable for their attempts to destabilize our democracy.”
Rep. Ted Budd, R-13th District: “President Trump’s policy towards Russia shows that he clearly understands the threat they pose. His administration approved the transfer of lethal weapons to Ukraine, bombed Russian-supported air bases in Syria, and has placed additional economic sanctions on various individuals and entities in Russia for meddling in the 2016 election … it’s my hope that the president’s rhetoric in the coming weeks and months will be in line with his administration’s actions.”
The Democrats of the Old North State’s congressional delegation were following the Left’s talking points of Trump induced hysteria, while coming up just short of labeling the summit treasonous, as some others on the Left did.
Rep. David Price, D-4th District, tweeted: “President Trump is compromised. He places his trust in a former KGB thug over his own hand-picked Director of National Intelligence and blames the U.S. for poor relations with Russia.”
Last week, Price argued that the president should not be attending the summit in the first place after 12 Russian intelligence officers were indicted by the U.S. Department of Justice for hacking into the DNC.
Rep. Alma Adams, D-12th District, tweeted: “Today, @realDonaldTrump put Russia first. His actions are unacceptable and we cannot sit silently while he turns his back on our intelligence agencies and our national security. The President’s failure to hold Russia accountable is an international embarrassment.”
What the lawmakers didn’t talk about was the apparent agreement between Trump and Putin to both support the 1974 separation of forces agreement between Israel and Syria in the Golan Heights. That development should trend toward peace between Syria and Israel, while also indicating Russia will not stand in the way of Israel attacking Iranian assets in Syrian territory.
Also lost on these lawmakers and others in the media: to the extent that improving relations between the U.S. and Russia reduce the latter’s reliance upon China for strategic objectives, the better for American interests. China is routinely flexing its muscle in the Eastern Hemisphere, often joining with Russia against American interests, so driving a wedge between the two of them should serve the U.S. well.
By now you’re likely tired of the (over)reactions to the Trump/Putin summit, but don’t worry – the media will manufacture some outrage on a different subject by this time next week.