Local politicians react to Trump, Putin summit
PEORIA - The Helsinki summit Monday with U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin provoked criticism among politicians from both major parties in Illinois on local and state level after Trump sided with Putin over U.S. intelligence agencies regarding interference with the 2016 election.
"I have great confidence in my intelligence people, but I will tell you that President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today," Trump said during a joint news conference with the Russian president.
Rep. Adam Kinzinger, a Republican of the 11th Congressional District, condemned the president's remarks on Twitter.
"The American people deserve the truth, & to disregard the legitimacy of our intelligence officials is a disservice to the men & women who serve this country," he said. "It’s time to wake up & face reality. #Putin is not our friend; he’s an enemy to our freedom."
He continued, "They are OUR intelligence people, and this tactic only leads to a brighter future for #Putin and his Cronies. Mr. President, you need to retract the whole #Helsinki press conference, and reassess your view of allies and enemies."
Democratic Sen. Tammy Duckworth had similar sentiments.
“It is difficult to overstate the damage done by Donald Trump’s shocking and disgraceful show of weakness on the world stage," Duckworth said. "The strong global alliances and global belief in American leadership that Trump has taken just days to tear down over the last week will take generations to rebuild. Just days after the indictments of 12 Russian military officials for their attacks on our country during the 2016 election, Trump is not only willing to let Vladimir Putin off the hook, he actually holds America responsible for allowing the attacks to happen."
Republican and 18th Congressional District Rep. Darin LaHood said Putin should not be considered an ally.
"It is undeniable that Russia interfered with our democratic elections and continues to pose a threat to democracy both at home and abroad. These findings have been supported by both our intelligence community and the House Committee on Intelligence," he said. "This Administration must hold Russia and Putin accountable for these actions on our democracy. President Trump should respect the findings of our intelligence professionals and assure that threats against our values and ideas are met with strong criticism and consequences.”
Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin said the remarks were "appalling."
"The President’s non-stop preening over his 2016 election victory shows clearly that his ego is more important to him than standing up for America," Durbin said. "What part of the seizing of Crimea, shooting down a Malaysian aircraft, invading Ukraine, nerve agent attack in England, threats to Poland and the Baltics, and attacking the U.S. election process makes Vladimir Putin such a loveable rascal in the eyes of Donald Trump?"
Rep. Cheri Bustos, a Democrat of the 17th Congressional District, said Trump should "be holding Russia accountable for its attack on our nation, instead he stood at a podium and essentially gave Vladimir Putin a pass to do whatever he wants," Bustos said. "We must allow the Mueller investigation to follow the facts wherever they lead, without any political interference, because the American people demand accountability."
Rep. Rodney Davis, a Republican from the 13th Congressional District, said "There should be absolutely no doubt in anyone’s mind that Russia meddled in our election. We must continue to hold them accountable through sanctions and also work to secure our voting systems."