A day after trying to do damage control, President Trump offered a fresh defense Wednesday of his summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, firing off morning tweets in which he claimed that his widely panned news conference afterward actually was appreciated by “many people at the higher ends of intelligence.”
On Tuesday, Trump sought to tamp down a global uproar over his warm embrace of Putin at Monday’s summit in Helsinki, delivering a statement at the White House in which he said he accepts the U.S. intelligence community’s assessment that Russia interfered in the 2016 U.S. election.
Early Wednesday, Trump was back to touting a meeting that he said would lead to “big results” and “many positive things” — including Russia’s help with his efforts to rid North Korea of nuclear weapons.
“So many people at the higher ends of intelligence loved my press conference performance in Helsinki,” Trump wrote on Twitter about a joint appearance with Putin that was slammed by members of both political parties. “Putin and I discussed many important subjects at our earlier meeting. We got along well which truly bothered many haters who wanted to see a boxing match. Big results will come!”
Trump’s performance at Monday’s news conference drew widespread condemnation, as he appeared to side with Putin over the U.S. intelligence community, which has concluded that Russia interfered in the 2016 election.
In a subsequent tweet Wednesday, Trump claimed that a meeting with NATO allies in Brussels last week was an “acknowledged triumph” and that his summit with Putin “may prove to be, in the long run, an even greater success.”
Trump said that Russia agreed to help with North Korea and claimed that the “process is moving along.”
“Big benefits and exciting future for North Korea at end of process!” Trump wrote.
Trump tweeted “While the NATO meeting in Brussels was an acknowledged triumph, with billions of dollars more being put up by member countries at a faster pace, the meeting with Russia may prove to be, in the long run, an even greater success. Many positive things will come out of that meeting..
”...Russia has agreed to help with North Korea, where relationships with us are very good and the process is moving along. There is no rush, the sanctions remain! Big benefits and exciting future for North Korea at end of process!”
Trump returned to the subject of his relationship with Putin later Wednesday morning, asserting that some people would rather go to war than see him get along well with Putin.
“It’s called Trump Derangement Syndrome!” the president wrote on Twitter, borrowing a line from Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who was one of his most vocal defenders in the wake of the Helsinki summit.
In recent days, Paul has called those who questioned Trump’s efforts to build a relationship with Putin “unhinged” and “crazy.”
Trump tweeted “Some people HATE the fact that I got along well with President Putin of Russia. They would rather go to war than see this. It’s called Trump Derangement Syndrome!”
Trump’s tweets prompted a new round of criticism from Democrats, including Rep. Ted Lieu of Torrance, who said that only Russian people appreciated Trump’s joint news conference with Putin.
“Also, the rest of us less intelligent people in America thought your performance in Helsinki was disgraceful,” Lieu said.