Seth Meyers Describes Trump's Helsinki Presser As Super "Surreal" & Not In A Good Way
During his daily monologue on Tuesday night, Seth Meyers described Trump's Helsinki presser as "one of the most surreal performances by a president in modern American history," and given what Meyers said after, this definitely wasn't a compliment. Meyers went on to describe Trump's trip as one of the "more disastrous ones in recent memory". He added that Trump's previous awkward interactions were nothing compared to his meeting with Putin.
The host said,
If Trump weren't so irredeemably awful, his stupidity would be heartbreaking. ... However low your expectations were, Trump managed to go much lower. Because just three days after the Justice Department issued an indictment of 12 Russian intelligence officials, offering some of the most specific evidence yet of Russian meddling in the 2016 election, the president of the United States twisted himself in knots to take Putin's side.
Meyers continued, "So just to recap, Trump blamed the U.S. for Russian aggressions, attacked the FBI and the Special Counsel's investigation, took Putin's side on election meddling, attacked Democrats and Hillary Clinton with Putin standing next to him, and said Putin was strong and powerful. Ca you imagine what their private meeting was like?"
Of Putin's gifting of a soccer ball to Trump, Meyers said, "That's right: Putin got a propaganda victory and Trump got a soccer ball."
"Of course, Trump's behavior would be bizarre and suspicious on its own," Meyers said, "But we also know, thanks to Mueller's indictment of 12 Russian operatives on Friday, the Russian hackers were not only helping Trump during the election but responding directly to him when he issued that infamous plea in the summer of 2016 to hack Hillary Clinton's emails."
"Not only were they listening, they were taking orders," Meyers said. "Everyone acted like it was a joke, but Trump acted like he was at the drive-thru: 'Uh, yeah, can I get 30,000 missing emails, illegal dirt on my opponent, and as many Big Macs as you can fit in this giant white hat?"
Meyers concluded by saying,
And on top of everything else today, a Russian woman who tried to broker a pair of secret meetings between Trump and Putin was charged and accused of working with Americans to carry out a secret Russian effort to influence politics... so while that was happening, Trump was doing everything he could to ingratiate himself with Putin. He's selling out our democracy, and there's only one word for it: heartbreaking.
Meyers isn't the only one to have some choice words for Trumps' behavior at his joint press conference with Putin. Many of Trump's strongest supporters in the GOP vocalized their outrage over his apparent decision to support Putin over his own intelligence community.
House Speaker Paul Ryan said in a statement, "There is no question that Russia interfered in our election and continues attempts to undermine democracy here and around the world. ... That is not just the finding of the American intelligence community but also the House Committee on Intelligence."
Additionally, Mitch McConnell, the Senate House Majority Leader who has long been one of Trump's greatest political allies, said to reporters on Monday, "I've said a number of times and I say it again, the Russians are not our friends and I entirely believe the assessment of our intelligence community."
In a more blunt assessment of the president's attitude in Helsinki, Senator John McCain said that Trump's comments were "one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in memory."
Senator Bob Corker's statement to reporters was both a condemnation of Trump's behavior in Helsinki and his character as a whole: “I think sometimes he forgets the fact that these intelligence agencies report and work for him,” he said. "Time and time again, he makes decisions not based on what’s good for the country but how someone treats him. And that was very evident today.”