Trump eyes new Putin meeting, slams media as ‘enemy’
A defiant US President Donald Trump said on Thursday he is looking forward to another meeting with Vladimir Putin, assailing media who failed to recognize the “great success” of their first summit as the “enemy of the people.”
Trump has come under bipartisan fire at home for what many saw as his unsettling embrace of the Russian strongman this week in Helsinki — and the seeming disavowal of his own intelligence agencies and their assessment that Moscow meddled in the 2016 election.
The backlash has thrust the US leader onto the defensive — leading to several days of backtracking and conflicting statements from both the president and the White House.
“The Summit with Russia was a great success, except with the real enemy of the people, the Fake News Media,” he wrote in his latest, combative tweet early on Thursday.
“The Fake News Media wants so badly to see a major confrontation with Russia, even a confrontation that could lead to war,” Trump said. “They are pushing so recklessly hard and hate the fact that I’ll probably have a good relationship with Putin.
“I look forward to our second meeting so that we can start implementing some of the many things discussed,” he continued.
Trump listed these as “stopping terrorism, security for Israel, nuclear proliferation, cyber attacks, trade, Ukraine, Middle East peace, North Korea and more.” “There are many answers, some easy and some hard, to these problems… but they can ALL be solved!” he said.
According to opinion polls published on Thursday, a large majority of Americans disapproved of Trump’s handling of the summit — but members of his Republican party approved by a wide margin.
While just one-third of Americans approved of Trump’s handling of the Putin summit, that number rose to 68 per cent among Republicans, according to a CBS poll. Another poll, by Axios/Survey Monkey, showed Republican support at 79 per cent — compared to 40 per cent of respondents overall.
Among those Republicans expressing concern on Thursday was Senator Lindsey Graham, a prominent voice on foreign policy in the party.
Trump wasn’t “prepared as well as he should have been” for the meeting, Graham told reporters, adding that it is “imperative that he understands that he is misjudging Putin.”