It Happened: Trump-Putin Summit ⛰️

AP Photo / Alexander Zemlianichenko

AP Photo / Alexander Zemlianichenko

Friend or foe?

Yesterday, US President Trump and Russian President Putin met in Helsinki, Finland for a highly-anticipated summit. With only their interpreters in the room, Trump and Putin have yet to disclose any agenda items. In a later press conference, Trump controversially backed Putin’s denials on Russian interference, despite US intelligence findings proving otherwise. This drew rare yet widespread bipartisan criticism from all sides within the government and the media.

A lot going on

The meeting comes in the midst of special counsel Robert Mueller’s ongoing Russia investigation. It also comes on the heels of the Department of Justice’s indictment of 12 Russian officers for hacking Democrats’ emails (as we reported yesterday). Prior to meeting with Putin, Trump completed a European tour not without its own controversy, ultimately labeling the European Union a “foe”.

The right had high hopes for the meeting but ultimately criticized Trump as too appeasing. They initially saw the meeting as inevitable; Russia is a geographic and nuclear force who has the power to sow chaos. Right folk saw Trump as a proactive agent in ensuring that Russia is tided over by some form of a diplomatic relationship. Following the press conference, many on the right deemed Trump as unprepared for the summit’s high stakes. They voice their disappointment in Trump, who many viewed as a hopeful pragmatist, in “standing up” to Putin and protecting American goals.

The left denounced the Trump-Putin meeting as treasonous. They are bewildered by Trump’s attack on clear US intelligence evidence. They condemn his undermining of the US intelligence community and see him as jeopardizing American validity. They dispute Trump’s self-claimed label as a dealmaker; they deem him to be gullible and emphasize that he is being played by Putin the “con-man”. The left believes Trump is validating Russian crimes and injustices (i.e. in Ukraine, Crimea and Syria) by supporting Putin's claims.

Tipping point?

The occurrence of this summit is a win for Russia. The number of allies Trump continues to antagonize grows as he tries to defend Russia. His actions at the press conference, which have drawn criticism on all sides, doubt Trump’s commitment to “America first” by siding with a traditional adversary. Some Trump supporters seem to be doubting Trump’s ability to “Make America Great Again”.

A rare agreement on all sides



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