Trumps tries to calm the political stir over Putin Summit by saying he misspoke.
Seeking to ease the growing criticism over his glowing remarks about Russian President Vladimir Putin, President Donald Trump on Tuesday said he had misspoken during his joint news conference in Helsinki.
Trump shocked the world on Monday by holding back from criticizing Putin for Moscow’s actions to undermine the 2016 U.S. election and cast doubt on intelligence agencies.
Trump said instead of saying ‘wouldn’t’, he mistakenly said ‘would’ and his sentence should’ve been, “I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t be Russia.”
In a Reuters report, a poll was conducted after Trump’s conference and found that 55% of registered U.S. voters disapproved of his handling of relations with Russian, while 37% approved.
Instead of publicly reprimanding Putin during the news conference, Trump praised Putin for his “strong and powerful” denial of the conclusions of U.S. intelligence agencies that the Russian state stirred in the election.
Republicans and Democrats accused Trump for siding with an adversary rather than his own country.
Reading mainly from a prepared statement 27 hours later after numerous criticism from the public, Trump said he had complete faith in U.S. intelligence agencies and accepted their conclusions. He then read off his script on who was responsible for the election interference and said “it could be other people also. There’s a lot of people out there.” Democrats believed his statement as political damage control.
Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said Trump’s speech on Tuesday was another sign of his weakness, particularly his statement that “it could be other people.” Schumer also stated that it shows that Trump is afraid to confront Mr. Putin directly.
The political dispute over Trump’s performance in Helsinki has overwhelmed the administration, overshadowing most of the frequent controversies that have erupted during Trump’s unstable 18 months in office.