President Donald Trump’s first meeting with Russia’s Vladimir Putin was “disastrous” – and the idea of a partnership on cybersecurity is “pretty close” to “the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard,” Sen. Lindsey Graham said Sunday.
In an interview on NBC News’ “Meet The Press,” the South Carolina hawk said Trump’s sit-down with the Russian president was especially disappointing in light of Trump’s speech in Poland defending Western values.
“He gave a really good speech in Poland… and he had what I think is a disastrous meeting with President Putin,” Graham said. “Two hours and 15 minutes of meetings, [Secretary of State Rex] Tillerson and Trump are ready to forgive and forget when it comes to cyberattacks on the American election of 2016.”
“There is only one person in Washington that I know of that has any doubt about what Russia did in our election, and that’s President Trump,” Graham added.
“And I hate that because I really like what he’s doing regarding North Korea, putting them on notice about no missile will ever be used to hit America.”
Graham declared Trump has “got a blind spot” when it comes to Russia.
“He’s got a great national security team around him,” he said. “He’s doing a good job in Afghanistan, North Korea and [ISIS], but when it comes to Russia, he’s got a blind spot, and to forgive and forget when it comes to Putin regarding cyberattacks is to empower Putin, and that’s exactly what he’s doing.”
He also said he was “dismayed” by remarks of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson about a cease fire deal reached with Russia.
“Putin does not have it right when it comes to Syria, and this cease fire is going to help [Syria President Bashir al-] Assad,” he said. “There will never be an end to this war as long as Assad is in power, so we’re empowering the Russians in Syria. Secretary Tillerson needs to staff up the State Department and use it wisely.They are completely AWOL when it comes to their part of the strategy in Afghanistan. I’m so worried about the State Department.”