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Trump goes easy on Putin?

Here are excerpts from conservative commentary on President Trump’s press conference Monday with Vladimir Putin:

Hid his fangs: The problem is personal. Trump is too fond of “extremely strong and powerful” Putin.

Other presidents have been beguiled by Putin. President George W. Bush looked into Putin’s eyes and saw a good soul. President Barack Obama pledged a reset, begged for more flexibility after the election, and mocked those who called Putin a great threat.

Trump has fallen under this spell, too. The irony is that Trump’s electoral appeal was largely his supposed strength in the face of adversaries. On debate stages and in press conferences he would bulldoze the likes of Jeb Bush, Jim Acosta, and Hillary Clinton. His supporters expected he would take that no-nonsense alpha-dog attitude to the world stage.

Trump has at times been a pit bull to some of our allies, but facing an actual strongman, Trump hid his fangs, and Putin smiled.

— Washington Examiner

Ought to give us pause: This morning, President Trump tweeted, “Our relationship with Russia has NEVER been worse thanks to many years of U.S. foolishness and stupidity and now, the Rigged Witch Hunt!”

Some of us see it differently. Putin’s Russia is a dictatorship that kills critics, violates borders, interferes in democratic elections, etc. — and that’s why relations between it and the United States, a great liberal democracy, are bad.

Also, the Mueller team has just indicted 12 GRU agents. Does our president think that’s the fruit of a “Rigged Witch Hunt”?

When Trump sent out the above-quoted tweet, the Russian foreign ministry responded, “We agree.” That’s something that ought to give us pause — all of us Americans.

— Jay Nordlinger

National Review

Investigate his own crimes: For a sitting U.S. president to say publicly that he believes a foreign leader over his own intelligence team is shocking and admonishable.

At a time when our democracy faces grave threats, it is deeply troubling that the president would side with the very country that attacked us.

Additionally, Trump’s failure to distinguish between campaign collusion and Russia’s blatant attack on our democracy allowed Putin to sow more discord during the press conference.

“Could you name a single fact that would definitely prove the collusion? This is utter nonsense, just like the president recently mentioned,” Putin told a reporter.

Trump, and our country for that matter, can only win against Putin if we are assertive about American goals and our values. President Trump failed to accomplish that on Monday.

Instead of standing up to Putin, Trump offered to cooperate with Russia on some of the very issues that Russia is causing.

As some very wise analysts have noted, this strategy is like allowing a criminal to investigate his own crimes. It is foolish and naive and President Trump must simply do better going forward.

— Douglas Schoen

Fox News

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