When Donald Trump went so far in siding with a foreign adversary that his comments were called "treasonous," labeling them as a "missed opportunity" is a really weak criticism in comparison.
Yet some Congress members typically lavished Trump with praise — no matter how awful the president acts.
A press conference between Trump and the Russian leader "was a missed opportunity to hold Russia accountable for their meddling into our 2016 presidential election," U.S. Rep. Ted Yoho, R-Gainesville, said in a statement disputing Trump's suggestion the Russian regime didn't interfere.
Other Republicans delivered criticism that was more fitting given that Trump sided with Putin over U.S. intelligence agencies as the world watched. Sen. John McCain, the party's 2008 presidential nominee, said Trump gave "one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in memory."
Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Arizona, called Trump's comments "shameful." Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Nebraska, blasted Trump for handing Putin "a propaganda win." Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tennessee, said Trump made the United States look "like a pushover."
Of course, these Republicans are among Trump's most reliable critics at a time when most party members refuse to hold the president accountable for anything. Still, when criticism of the president could even be found on Fox News — where host Neil Cavuto called Trump's performance "disgusting" — it seems like Trump has reached a new low.
Former CIA director John Brennan was among those arguing Trump's comments were "treasonous," and it is no wonder. What else would you call it when the president sides with a foreign adversary of the United States against the interests of the country that he was elected to serve?
The GOP-led Congress has enabled Trump's worst traits by usually staying silent when he exhibits them and has failed in its constitutional responsibility to act as a check on the president. Now lawmakers from both parties must stand up to Trump and prevent him from firing Special Counsel Robert Mueller as he investigates Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Even as Trump repeatedly calls it a "witch hunt," Mueller's investigation continues to uncover evidence that Russia tried to help him win the election. Last week, 12 Russian military intelligence officers were indicted on charges they hacked Democrats' computers, stole their data and published those files in a bid to help Trump.
While Trump also claims there was no collusion, last week's indictment contained details of an online conversation between Russian intelligence officers and a person who was in regular contact with senior members of Trump's campaign. This week, a Russian national was charged with trying to set up back-channel communications between Trump and Putin during the campaign.
Even Yoho, in his statement, said the evidence is clear "Russia deliberately tried to undermine our republic." Now it is up to lawmakers like him to go beyond mild rebukes of Trump's comments and pass legislation to prevent the president from ending the investigation into exactly what happened.
REPRINTED FROM THE PANAMA CITY NEWS HERALD