US President Donald Trump said on Thursday, he had a “strong news conference” with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, rejecting the political outrage it triggered in America as “fuss” created by the “fake news”.
US lawmakers blasted Trump for not backing the American intelligence community’s claim that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election during his press conference with Putin on Monday.
Senator Jeff Flake, a Republican and a vocal critic of Trump, had labelled his performance as “shameful”.
The press conference in Helsinki was one of the “most disgraceful performances” by an American president in memory, Republican Senator John McCain had said.
“I think I did great at the news conference. I think it was a strong news conference,” Trump told CBS news, responding to a question on criticism of his performance at the press conference.
“I totally disagree”, Trump said when asked former House Speaker Newt Gingrich had termed it “the most serious mistake in your presidency”.
“You have people that said, ‘You should have gone up to him. You should have walked up and started screaming in his face’. We’re living in the real world. OK?” Trump said.
He lashed out at the media for turning every positive development into negative and making a “lot of fuss about a lot of things”.
“I don’t know what the fuss is all about. I think we did extremely well. And I think the press makes up the, look, it’s fake news. And people understand. I think the press largely makes up a lot of the fuss about a lot of things. And I’m not talking about everything,” Trump asserted.
“It’s crazy. You do something that’s positive, and they try and make it as negative as possible. Not all. And I have to say this, some of the most honourable people I know, some great people, are reporters, journalists. But the level of dishonesty in your profession is extremely high,” he said.
When told that the press covered the substance and the wording of the press conference accurately, Trump said he did not care what was covered.
“They don’t, they didn’t cover my meeting. The important thing, frankly, was the meeting that lasted for two and a half hours, or almost two and a half hours. And in that meeting, we discussed many, many things that were very, very positive for both countries,” he said.
“Things emerged out that were very important. Nuclear proliferation between Russia and the United States, that’s 90 per cent of the nuclear weapons. Protection of Israel. He feels good about that, I feel good about that, very good about that. That was a big factor,” Trump said.
He said the two leaders also talked about North Korea.
“He said he will help. He agrees with what I’m doing. He thinks I’m doing a great job with respect to North Korea. He said he would help. I think he will. Let’s see what happens,” Trump said.