Not surprisingly, many Democrats and centrist media figures have described Donald Trump’s Monday press conference with Vladimir Putin—in which Trump barfed out references to discredited conspiracy theories and asserted that Putin had made an “extremely strong and powerful” case to him in private that Russia had no role in 2016 election hacking—as an embarrassment. It’s not particularly surprising either that some Republican elected officials are condemning it in mild but ultimately toothless terms; complaining about Trump’s foreign policy but not challenging it legislatively is the institutional Republican Party’s M.O. What’s more unexpected is that a number of right-wing media figures and outlets that are typically quite Trump-friendly have also denounced POTUS’s performance. Here’s Abby Huntsman, who’s a weekend host of Trump’s favorite show, Fox & Friends (and whose father is U.S. Ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman):
Proto-alt-right blogger Matt Drudge:
Longtime Trump surrogate Newt Gingrich, whose wife is the U.S. ambassador to the Vatican:
The Washington Examiner’s Byron York, a prominent critic of Robert Mueller’s special counsel investigation into potential collaboration between Russia and Trump 2016 campaign officials (I’ve elided some of his interstitial tweets; these two give you the gist):
And the Daily Caller’s Chuck Ross, who’s also done a lot of Trump-friendly reporting on Mueller:
On Fox News, intelligence analyst Daniel Hoffman compared Trump’s suggestion that Russia and the U.S. could work together on cybersecurity to “inviting a criminal to help solve a crime that you know that they committed,” national correspondent Ed Henry said the president’s refusal to support the conclusions of his own intelligence services “seems like it is going to backfire on him,” and Mary Kissel of the Wall Street Journal editorial board said her takeaway from the press conference was “unfortunately” that “President Putin scored a great propaganda victory.” On Fox Business, longtime Fox News host Neil Cavuto—who has also been critical of Trump on other occasions, for what it’s worth—called the press conference “disgusting.” Said Cavuto: “It’s not a right or left thing to me, it’s just wrong. A U.S. president on foreign soil talking to our biggest enemy, or adversary, or competitor—I don’t know how we define them these days—is essentially letting the guy get away with this and not even offering a mild criticism. That sets us back a lot.”
For the record, alt-right figures like the OAN network’s Jack Posobiec (who played a big role in the Pizzagate conspiracy theory) and Breitbart’s John Nolte and Joel Pollak took Trump’s side, arguing that what seemed like deference to a foreign strongman was in fact a tough stand against Fake News, the “deep state,” etc. And then there’s this guy:
“10/10, a masterpiece,” says Mike Pence!
This post was updated to include premium Newt content.