The Wall Street Journal editorial board unleashed harsh criticism on President Donald Trump following his trip abroad last week, culminating in press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin which the board termed a “national embarrassment”.
“Details from the private Trump-Putin talks in Helsinki will spill out in coming days, but Monday’s joint press conference was a personal and national embarrassment,” wrote the editorial board.
“On stage with the dictator whose election meddling has done so much harm to his Presidency, Mr. Trump couldn’t even bring himself to say he believed his own intelligence advisers like Dan Coats over the Russian strongman.”
“I have—I have confidence in both parties,” Mr. Trump said. “So I have great confidence in my intelligence people, but I will tell you that President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today.” Denials from liars usually are strong and powerful.
The charitable explanation for this kowtow to the Kremlin is that Mr. Trump can’t get past his fury that critics claim his election was tainted by Russian interference. And so he couldn’t resist, in front of the world, going off on a solipsistic ramble about “ Hillary Clinton’s emails” and Democratic “servers.” He can’t seem to figure out that the more he indulges his ego in this fashion, and the more he seems to indulge Mr. Putin, the more ammunition he gives to his opponents.
And the president projected weakness, the piece went on, all but begging Putin for a better relationship, “while the Russian played it cool and matter of fact”.
Mr. Trump touted their personal rapport, saying the bilateral “relationship has never been worse than it is now. However, that changed as of about four hours ago. I really believe that.” In four hours?