Ahead of Donald Trump's and President Putin's first official summit, speculation about the possible successful, or catastrophic, outcomes ran wild. In perhaps the internet version of a vote of no-confidence,
Twitter used the hashtag #TreasonSummit, as Trump and Putin shook hands in Helsinki, Finland, on Monday.
#TreasonSummit started popping up just hours before the two leaders' scheduled meeting. Trump had tweeted, "
Our relationship with Russia has NEVER been worse thanks to many years of U.S. foolishness and stupidity and now, the Rigged Witch Hunt!"
Placing the blame squarely on the United States for its strained relationship with Russia, Trump failed to mention
Russia's annexation of Crimea, its interference in the 2016 election, or support for Syria's authoritarian Assad regime as some of the factors that have contributed to the tension.
Concern over the summit was already elevated this week after President Trump repeatedly
criticized American allies in NATO meetings, called the European Union "a foe," and condemned President Obama's administration — and not Putin — after Special Counsel Robert Mueller issued 12 more indictments against Russian nationals for allegedly interfering in the 2016 election. Critics fear that Trump's history of praising Putin and Russia, in the current context, might indicate that Trump will capitulate to the Russian leader during Monday's meeting.
Here are some of Twitter's #TreasonSummit takes on the meeting.
A Reminder Of Democratic Values
Helsingin Sanomat, a Finnish newspaper, mocked President Trump in anticipation of his arrival with 300 billboards placed around the city to remind him that his frequent denigration of American media outlets and cries of "fake news" can be harmful to democracy.
Hillary Clinton "Warned Us"
This user linked in a Hillary Clinton campaign speech in which she warned Americans of the unprecedented "mind meld" between the Russian government and then-candidate Trump.
Putin's control over Trump, and certainly his ability to manipulate political opponents, has been in mounting in the last few weeks. One Twitter user went so far as to call Putin Trump's boss.
Trump's Summit Priorities
President Trump's foreign policy opinions typically stick to a
nationalist, America-first pattern... but according to writer John Pavlovitz, maybe not so much when it comes to Russia.
Don't Underestimate Putin
Part-satire, part-truth, this tweet describes a busy morning for Trump during the Helsinki summit.
American President Or Political Puppet?
Trump has said he and Putin will end up with "an extraordinary relationship" after the summit. Others are wondering whether their relationship puts America at a disadvantage moving forward.
For some, meeting with the leader of a country known to have tampered with our most recent presidential election is enough to call "treason," and apparently, to ask for citizen rebellion.
Meeting with political adversaries is not unheard of, but certainly kowtowing to them is unusual. Twitter users fear the Helsinki summit might be the latter.
Come On, Show A Little Class
Political satirist Rex Huppke joked about Twitter's trend algorithms, hashtagging #TreasonSummit three times in his tweet mocking the president ahead of the Helsinki meeting.
Trump has said that he is approaching the summit with low expectations, claiming that the media will downplay anything he accomplishes anyway. "Anything you do, it's always going to be,
'Oh, Russia. He loves Russia,'" he told reporters on Friday.
While it has yet to be seen, his recent conciliatory tone toward Russia suggests an effort to get into Putin's good graces. No doubt Twitter will keep an eye out for anything "treasonous."