Donald Trump fired off an early-morning tweet Wednesday to claim that his meeting with Vladimir Putin in Helsinki had pleased people ‘at higher ends of intelligence.’ His claim was made despite all evidence that his behavior with the Russian leader has been decried, not only by his ‘haters,’ as he claims, but by his own party, and even the news network he loves to praise.
Trump followed his first post with more tweets insisting that his meeting was very successful, an action that reveals he’s seeing the negative feedback that continues and feels the need to defend himself.
On Monday, July 16, Donald Trump met with Vladimir Putin in private in Helsinki, Finland. Only the two leaders, and a translator, know for certain what was said in that meeting. However, the press conference afterward gave the public plenty to criticize.
The most shocking noteworthy moment in that press conference was the line that Trump tried to reverse the next day. Asked if he believed the U.S. intelligence agencies that say they have evidence Russia hacked servers and stole identities in order to influence the U.S. elections, or believed Putin over them, Trump chose Putin.
I have President Putin. He just said it’s not Russia. I will say this. I don’t see any reason why it would be.
The next day, Trump reversed position on that single sentence, claiming, as NBC News documents, that he meant to use the word wouldn’t.
The sentence should have been…’I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t be Russia.’
However, even without that very striking line, Trump’s press conference still included blaming America for poor relations with Russia, and maintaining that the Mueller probe — the probe that had just added an additional 12 indictments to a growing stack — is a ‘disaster.’
Still, Wednesday morning Trump claimed success, hinting that those who are unhappy with his actions might just not be smart enough to appreciate them.
So many people at the higher ends of intelligence loved my press conference performance in Helsinki. Putin and I discussed many important subjects at our earlier meeting. We got along well which truly bothered many haters who wanted to see a boxing match. Big results will come!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 18, 2018
Those who do not approve of Trump’s secret meeting with Putin include members of his own party, such as North Carolina Senator Richard Burr and Arizona Senator John McCain, among others.
Vladimir Putin is not our friend and never has been. Nor does he want to be our friend. His regime’s actions prove it. pic.twitter.com/W95VPf9T8Y
— Richard Burr (@SenatorBurr) July 16, 2018
Today’s press conference in #Helsinki was one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in memory.
— John McCain (@SenJohnMcCain) July 16, 2018
Even Fox & Friends, the morning News/Opinion show that Trump considers very favorable to him, and often praises expressed disapproval. Bustle notes that host Abby Huntsman tweeted that Trump had “thrown [his] own people and country under the bus,” and quotes host Brian Kilmeade as suggesting that the negative opinions of political and operation experts should be taken seriously (though he also calls it a ‘correctable mistake’.)
When Newt Gingrich, when Gen. Jack Keane, when Matt Schlapp say the president fell short and made our intelligence apparatus look bad, I think it’s time to pay attention…
With even Trump’s own party and the news sources that usually are supportive of him calling his behavior with Russia unacceptable, who are the “many people at the higher ends of intelligence” who approve so wholeheartedly?
Democratic Senator Ted Lieu has a suggestion: They’re not people who support America.
Dear @realDonaldTrump: I am not a stable genius, but even I know that you forgot to put in the word "Russian" before "people" in your statement below.
— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) July 18, 2018
Whoever Trump has in mind when he claims to have the approval of intelligent people, it’s clear that the widespread disapproval concerns him, because he can’t stop tweeting about it.