NEW YORK: Seconds after President Donald Trump’s news conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin ended Monday, CNN anchor Anderson Cooper called the American leader’s performance “disgraceful.”
It was the most startling of several strong media reactions to the session, televised live by the largest American broadcasters and cable news networks, primarily because of Cooper’s role. He was the news anchor directing CNN’s coverage, as opposed to a pundit paid to be opinionated.
“You have been watching perhaps one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president at a summit in front of a Russian leader, certainly that I’ve ever seen,” he said.
Cooper later said it was embarrassing and compared the way Trump repeatedly brings up the issue of former opponent Hillary Clinton’s emails to something the autistic lead character in the movie “Rain Man” might do.
For the president, it’s likely to add another to his list of grievances about a network he has denounced as “fake news.” The White House over the weekend took action following CNN reporter Jim Acosta’s attempt to interject a question into a Trump news conference Friday by pulling Trump national security adviser John Bolton from a planned appearance on Jake Tapper’s weekend show.
Monday’s news conference turned on some sharp questions by Jonathan Lemire, White House correspondent for The Associated Press. Lemire asked Trump whether he agreed with the nation’s intelligence community, which has concluded Russia interfered in the 2016 elections, or Putin, who has repeatedly denied it. Lemire also asked whether Trump would denounce election meddling and warn Putin not to do it again, and asked Putin whether Russia had gathered incriminating material on the American president.
Trump responded, “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.” He denounced the federal investigation into Russian interference efforts as a “disaster for our country.”—AP