Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) criticized remarks that President Trump made Monday at a press conference with Russian president Vladimir Putin. Graham even cautioned that Trump should check Putin’s gift, a World Cup soccer ball, for listening devices.
After Putin handed Trump the ball, the president remarked that the ball would go to his son Barron and playfully tossed it to first lady Melania.
"If it were me, I’d check the soccer ball for listening devices and never allow it in the White House," Graham tweeted.
Finally, if it were me, I’d check the soccer ball for listening devices and never allow it in the White House.— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) July 16, 2018
In a series of tweets, Graham joined a chorus of Republican senators who criticized Trump’s remarks downplaying Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election during a press conference with Putin.
“I hold both countries responsible,” President Trump said of the U.S.’s poor relationship with Russia. “I think that the United States has been foolish, I think we’ve all been foolish. We should have had this dialogue a long time ago. I think we’re all to blame. I think that the United States now has stepped forward.”
Graham called the conference a “missed opportunity.”
“Missed opportunity by President Trump to firmly hold Russia accountable for 2016 meddling and deliver a strong warning regarding future elections,” he commented. “This answer by President Trump will be seen by Russia as a sign of weakness and create far more problems than it solves.”
It is imperative that Congress hold hearings on the extent and scope of any cooperation with Russia in Syria regarding Iran’s presence.— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) July 16, 2018
Other Republican Trump critics, Sens. Ben Sasse (NE) and Jeff Flake (AZ), condemned Trump’s remarks in even stronger terms.
A better thing, Mr. President, would be to declare: "Russia is the enemy of America and our allies, and we will expose and respond to their continued cyber-attacks against our nation." https://t.co/qNvgGRA58T— Ben Sasse (@BenSasse) July 16, 2018
I never thought I would see the day when our American President would stand on the stage with the Russian President and place blame on the United States for Russian aggression. This is shameful.— Jeff Flake (@JeffFlake) July 16, 2018