As pundits on both sides of the aisle respond with shock and awe to Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin’s unprecedented joint press conference Monday, two CNN reporters managed to put the reaction into perspective.
“An extraordinary moment in American history today here in Helsinki,” veteran host Wolf Blitzer said of the public appearance between the American and Russian leaders in which Trump appeared to side with Putin on the Kremlin’s electoral hacking in 2016.
“Putin actually acknowledged, confirmed publicly, that yes, he wanted Donald Trump to beat Hillary Clinton in the U.S. presidential election,” the host said, playing a clip where the Russian president admitted — against the insistence of some Republicans — that he wanted Trump to win.
Blitzer asked CNN White House correspondent Jim Sciutto what the reaction on the ground in Washington was like, and the reporter responded with one word: “shocked.”
“I’ve been speaking to the people closest to the Russia problem, these are their neighbors — Ukraine, the Baltics,” the correspondent said. A senior Ukrainian diplomat he spoke to told him that he feels like he’s “exploding” and has been “thrown under the bus” now that Trump is not holding Putin responsible for the annexation of Crimea.
Other Ukrainians Scuitto spoke to reportedly feel “stunned,” “outraged” and “saddened” by the American’s president performance side-by-side with Putin.
“Those are not mealy-mouthed criticisms,” the reported said. “There’s great fear here. It was the fear I was hearing in the lead-up to this summit from senior European diplomats, that the president would ‘give the keys away.'”
“They are feeling like those fears were confirmed today,” Scuitto concluded.
Watch below, via CNN: