The 8 Most Jaw-Dropping Moments From Trump & Putin’s Press Conference

by Lani Seelinger
Chris McGrath/Getty Images News/Getty Images

No one knew exactly what to expect from Trump and Putin's meeting in Helsinki, but it's probably fair to say that everyone expected some pretty bizarre things here and there. In that sense, the most jaw-dropping moments from Trump and Putin's meeting did not disappoint.

The list could have been longer, but Trump and Putin met alone for about two hours before giving their joint press conference. There hasn't been a transcript released for that extended meeting, and the public is unlikely to ever know exactly what the two world leaders talked about. The press conference, though, led to several memorable moments, only adding to the unexpected comments that Trump made in the lead-up to the meeting.

For example, it was fairly jaw-dropping for America's western allies when Trump called the EU a "foe" or when he issued a stronger rebuke of the U.S.' NATO allies over what he views as a lack of military spending than he ever has to Russia over their attack on the 2016 election.

All in all, Trump has provided plenty of surprises on his trip to Europe — and it's safe to say that the surprises continued once he began sharing information about his private meeting with the Russian president.


The Soccer Ball Toss To Melania

Putin gave Trump a World Cup 2018 commemorative soccer ball — which Trump then threw to Melania, who was sitting in the audience.


Trump Answering A Question For Putin

A reporter for the Associated Press asked Putin why the American people should believe him regarding his claim that Russia hadn't interfered in the election.

Instead of letting Putin answer the question direct at him, Trump jumped in to give a long response about how he won the election in a hard-fought battle and the collusion claim was always a Democratic excuse for their loss.


Their Conflicting Answers On Election Hacking

When asked about Russian interference in the American election, Putin said that “Russian state has never interfered and is not going to interfere in internal American affairs,” and Trump essentially just backed Putin up, saying that his Russian counterpart “has an interesting idea” about the interference.


Trump Didn't Forget Hillary

In addition to bringing up his electoral vote count when he answered the question meant for Putin, Trump also said that Hillary's emails "wouldn't be gone so easily" in Russia and said "I beat Hillary Clinton."


Putin's Comment On Trust

In finally answering the question about why the American people should believe his claims that Russia didn't interfere in the election, Putin questioned where people got "this idea that Trump trusts me or I trust him?" He also said that “You can trust no one.”

Trump, on the other hand, has repeatedly said that he trusts Putin's claims that Russia didn't meddle.


Trump On Mueller, To Putin

In a fitting follow-up to his Sunday tweet blaming tensions between the U.S. and Russia on "U.S. foolishness and stupidity," Trump attacked the Mueller investigation, while he was giving the press conference next to Putin.


Putin's Admission On Who He Wanted To Win

Putin openly admitted that he wanted Trump to win the election, claiming that it was “because he talked about normalizing relations” between their two countries.


Putin's Non-Denial

Putin was asked if he had any compromising material on Trump, as the infamous dossier implies might be the case. In response, he said, "I did hear these rumors. When President Trump visited Moscow back then, I didn't even know he was in Moscow... Nobody informed me that he was in Moscow... Please disregard these issues." This, of course, was not a denial.

These moments, and really the entire press conference, led to a lot of criticism of Trump and how he handled the meeting. Even after the multitude of surprises that have come during the year and a half of Trump's presidency, this press conference offered a number of truly shocking moments.