Where the PA Delegation Stands on the Trump/Putin Summit
President Trump thinks yesterday’s meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin went great.
While I had a great meeting with NATO, raising vast amounts of money, I had an even better meeting with Vladimir Putin of Russia. Sadly, it is not being reported that way – the Fake News is going Crazy!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 17, 2018
But many people – even some in his own party – don’t really see it that way.
On a day when the typical left-right divide was shaken up, here’s a look at what Pennsylvania’s congressional delegation had to say. The comments are ranked subjectively from the most critical of the President to the most supportive.
Most Critical: Sen. Bob Casey, (D)
He was quick to issue a detailed press release stating his grievances and also took to Twitter to state that yesterday’s press conference was “a new low and profound embarrassment to America.”
I have supported the Administration’s engagement with North Korea and on other matters of foreign affairs because I believe that America is strongest when our foreign policy is bipartisan. However, what occurred today was a new low and profound embarrassment for America.
— Senator Bob Casey (@SenBobCasey) July 16, 2018
Casey later asked in a tweet, “Why is the President so deferential to Putin while he trashes our law enforcement who protect our country and our communities every day? Is he afraid of Putin?”
Rep. Brendan Boyle, (D-Philadelphia)
Boyle put out a press release and also took to social media to explain his dissatisfaction with yesterday’s summit.
“These egregious comments can be considered nothing other than a thank-you note from President Trump to Vladimir Putin,” Boyle stated in a press release.
Rep. Dwight Evans, (D-Philadelphia)
Evans sent out a tweet and a lengthy Facebook post expressing his concerns with the way Trump and Putin were hand in hand at the conference.
“Despite their obvious attack on our sacred election process, Trump called our country’s previous relationship w/ Russia ‘foolishness and stupidity.’ The only ‘foolishness and stupidity,’ I see is that our President has more loyalty to Russia than the United States of America!” Evans stated this in a Facebook post.
Rep. Mike Doyle, (D-Allegheny)
Doyle stated that Trump made the decision to “support Putin’s agenda–not our country’s.” in a tweet.
Today was @POTUS’ opportunity to stand up to #Putin on his interference in our election and his destructive role around the world. Instead, he made the shameful decision to support Putin’s agenda–not our country’s. #HelsinkiSummit
— Mike Doyle (@USRepMikeDoyle) July 17, 2018
Sen. Pat Toomey, (R)
Toomey has been one of the lone Republicans in PA willing to criticize Trump from time to time and he didn’t hold back here. Toomey was one of the only Republicans in PA to call out Trump’s @POTUS twitter handle. “@POTUS’ blindness to Putin’s hostile acts against the US and our allies—election meddling included—is very troubling,” he wrote.
.@POTUS‘ blindness to Putin’s hostile acts against the US and our allies—election meddling included—is very troubling. Please read my statement in reaction to today’s Helsinki press conference: pic.twitter.com/7JGtcfg9ph
— Senator Pat Toomey (@SenToomey) July 16, 2018
Rep. Matt Cartwright, (D-Lackawanna)
Cartwright took to Facebook to question the President’s behavior and stated that the U.S., “must be forceful in confronting Russia, and in defending our American national sovereignty.”
“It is difficult to understand the President’s behavior today at the Helsinki press conference, let alone defend it. We must be forceful in confronting Russia, and in defending our American national sovereignty.”
Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, (R-Bucks)
Fitzpatrick has occasionally spoken out about Trump’s policies and he reiterated his support for the FBI, he was once an FBI special agent, and his issues with the summit.
“President Trump missed the mark today in failing to confront Vladimir Putin on these emails,” Fitzpatrick stated in the press release.
Rep. Lloyd Smucker, (R-Lancaster)
Smucker’s district only voted for Trump by nearly 7%, but with the new mapping, Trump defeated Clinton by more than 25 points. Yesterday, he called out Trump by name via tweet and told him to “stand up to President Putin, & act.”
We know that Russia interfered in our 2016 election in an attempt to dismantle the integrity of our democratic system & sow divisions throughout our country. President Trump must acknowledge this fact, stand up to President Putin, & act.
— Rep. Lloyd Smucker (@RepSmucker) July 16, 2018
Rep. Ryan Costello, (R-Chester)
Costello is not running for re-election so his word may not be viewed as controversial to this conversation, but he did chime in by tweeting a link of an interview he did on MSNBC’s “KasieDC” program, in which he discussed his thoughts on the Mueller probe. “I want to be clear: the Special Counsel is operating a legitimate investigation– this is not a witch hunt, & Russia needs to be held accountable,” he wrote.
This is about Russia seeking to impact our democracy & the integrity of our election process. I want to be clear: the Special Counsel is operating a legitimate investigation– this is not a witch hunt, & Russia needs to be held accountable. See more of my interview from last night pic.twitter.com/iwITwnxnz0
— Rep. Ryan Costello (@RepRyanCostello) July 16, 2018
Rep. Keith Rothfus, (R-Allegheny)
Rothfus did not call out the President by name, but he did release a statement via press release and social media post criticizing the summit.
There should be no ambiguity about the fact that #Russia is a hostile nation that interfered in our election and that it continues to target our democratic allies around the world. Full Statement: https://t.co/khXzI7hQwV pic.twitter.com/IeWQQPH9Vk
— Keith Rothfus (@KeithRothfus) July 16, 2018
Rep. Tom Marino, (R-Lycoming)
Marino also did not use Trump’s name in his press release or social media posts, but did state that, “Russia is not our ally.”
America’s relationship with Russia is not binary and many of the issues discussed need mutual dedication to reach solutions. However, Russia is not our ally and their motivations are not based on the promotion of democracy and human rights like the United States.
— Rep. Tom Marino (@RepTomMarino) July 16, 2018
Rep. Glenn Thompson, (R-Centre)
Thompson did not take to social media to share his thoughts, but he did issue a press release in which he said he “appreciated the President’s diplomatic efforts”, but that “Russia continues to pose a threat to our national security and should be viewed as an adversary.
Rep. Scott Perry (R-York)
Perry issued a tweet Tuesday, July 17th afternoon, after President Trump made comments to say he misspoke at the Helsinki summit with Putin and says he “full faith and support” in American intelligence.
Russian agents unquestionably meddled in our electoral process. I’m encouraged the President clarified his statement and supports our findings. Putin’s hostile actions against the US & our allies cannot stand. I encourage the President to continue to hold him & Russia accountable
— RepScottPerry (@RepScottPerry) July 17, 2018
Most Supportive: Rep. Lou Barletta (R-Luzerne):
The Congressman, U.S. Senate candidate and longtime Trump supporter came to the President’s defense.
“While I don’t know what was discussed behind closed doors, I do know that the President understands that protecting the United States from all foreign threats is his highest obligation. I agree with the U.S. intelligence assessment that Russia attempted to interfere in our election, and I will continue to do everything I can to prevent them from doing so ever again. I also believe it’s important to continue the dialogue between our two nations to address critical issues like stabilization in Syria and denuclearization, both of which were addressed at today’s summit.”
The following members of the delegation have not issued a comment via press release or social media: Reps. Bob Brady (D-Philadelphia), Mike Kelly (R-Butler), Conor Lamb (D-Allegheny), and Bill Shuster (R-Bedford).
Updated with tweet from Rep. Scott Perry (R-York).