PRESIDENT Donald Trump has been touting about how successful his summit with Russian dictator Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Finland was this week, saying on Twitter: ”So many people at the higher ends of intelligence loved my press conference performance in Helsinki.”
Trump must be referring to a third of Americans (32 percent) — mostly his consistent ever-loyal fan base — who, according to the latest CBS News poll approve the way Trump handled the summit.
Bad news for Trump: It is not only the news media, whom he loves to call “fake news” and “real enemy of the people of America,” who disagree with his self-congratulatory remark.
In fact, according to the same poll conducted by CBS News reveals a majority of Americans (55 percent) disapprove of the way the summit was handled by Trump.
Even more ominous newsflash for the president — these critics are not just Democrats. The poll results show those who disapprove of his performance include 83 percent of Democrats and 53 percent of independents.
Some Republicans also gave him a thumbs down — 21 percent, but a big majority of them (68 percent) approve of how Trump dealt with the meeting.
The CBS News broke down those who gave Trump a thumbs up in how he handled the summit along party lines: Overall, only 32 percent approve of the president’s handling of the summit — with 8 percent of Democrats and 29 percent of independents agreeing with his fan base.
These findings come in the aftermath of the fact that the president of the United States, standing side by side with Putin on the world stage during the summit news conference, preferred to believe the Russian dictator over the U.S. intelligence agencies who have presented to him a detailed 65-page report of how Russia assaulted American democracy by interfering in the 2016 U.S. presidential election to damage Hillary Clinton’s campaign and help Trump win.
More alarming was the finding that Putin’s Russia continues to attack our democracy every day by cyber warfare and website hackings to interfere in the coming November 2018 midterm elections.
Trump knew these FACTS, but chose to declare he believed Putin instead of our intelligence community, saying “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.
When criticized about his statements, Trump attempted to clean up his mess with an alibi.
The transcript of the press conference stated: “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. He just said it’s not Russia. I will say this: I don’t see any reason why it would be.”
When he returned to the U.S., Trump said in a news conference that he “misspoke” and had to clarify what he said, claiming, “In a key sentence in my remarks, I said ‘would’ instead of ‘wouldn’t.’ The sentence should have been, ‘I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t be Russia.’ You can put that in.”
He added, “I think that probably clarifies it.”
Clarify, he did not. After saying he believes, supports and has faith in the U.S. intelligence agencies, Trump continued on to say the meddling could also have been done by “others” — an attempt to water down Russia’s culpability, and is an assertion that is not part of the detailed report of the agencies.
The news conference revealed more concerning statement made by Trump that revealed just how many concessions he was willing to make while singing high praises to the dictator who has been assaulting the democracy of the United States.
Then back in the U.S., the Washington Post reported how at the start of a Cabinet meeting at the White House, a reporter asked Trump, “Is Russia still targeting the U.S., Mr. President?”
“Thank you very much. No,” Trump responded, shaking his head.
“No? You don’t believe that to be the case?” the reporter said.
“No,” Trump repeated.
He went on to say that no president has been tougher on Russia than he has. “I think President Putin knows that better than anybody, certainly a lot better than the media,” Trump told reporters.
AND if you think this summit was a nightmare, the Trump administration announced Putin will be coming to the White House for a second summit with Trump, much to the surprise of the president’s own Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, who just found out about it on national television live, when the breaking news was read during the interview on MSNBC.
Coats, who is supposed to be in the loop about everything, was left out in the dark, just as he and the whole country are still wondering, what really was discussed and agreed upon when Trump met privately for a couple of hours behind closed doors, with only his and Putin’s interpreters present.
The CBS News poll report further reveals that looking ahead, a majority of Americans overall (61 percent) express at least some concern about Russia interfering in the 2018 elections, though Republicans express far lower levels of concern, while most Democrats are very concerned.
IF YOU ARE NOT CONCERNED, the democracy of this “land of the free and home of the brave” is in big trouble..
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Gel Santos Relos is the anchor of TFC’s “Balitang America.” Views and opinions expressed by the author in this column are solely those of the author and not of Asian Journal and ABS-CBN-TFC. For comments, go to www.TheFil-AmPerspective.com, https://www.facebook.com/Gel.Santos.Relos