Several prominent Fox News hosts could not believe what they saw Monday in President Trump’s overtly deferential presser with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The joint conference in Helsinki took a turn for the shocking when, after being asked by Reuters whether he held Russia responsible for meddling in the 2016 election, Trump said he holds “both sides responsible.” The president also directly contradicted his own intelligence officials, saying he believes Putin when he says Russia did not intervene in the election.
Following the presser, Fox News anchor Neil Cavuto—appearing on the Fox Business Network—called it a “disgusting” display.
Trump was “essentially letting the guy get away with this, not even offering a mild, a mild criticism,” Cavuto said. “That’s what made his performance disgusting. Only way I feel. Not a right or left thing to me. It is wrong.”
Neil Cavuto of Fox Business calls Trump's press conference "disgusting", "That sets us back a lot." pic.twitter.com/R2ZIjyFyPR— Axios (@axios) July 16, 2018
Fellow Fox host Stuart Varney, who routinely boosts Trump’s policies, bashed the president for what was “not a very forceful presentation.” Two of the conservative host’s guests joined in, saying Putin came out ahead.
“He outmaneuvered our president,” FBN business reporter Ashley Webster said. “I was very surprised. I thought Trump was going to push hard.”
Fox Business Network anchor Trish Regan, normally an enthusiastic Trump booster, described the press conference as “horrible.”
“From what I saw, I did not like that our president was not defending us and honoring his intelligence community,” she said during her Monday show.
Fox & Friends Weekend host Abby Huntsman—daughter of Jon Huntsman, Trump’s ambassador to Russia—also minced no words in criticizing the president whom she regularly defends.
“No negotiation is worth throwing your own people and country under the bus,” she wrote in a forceful tweet following the presser. Her comment appeared to be pushing back on an emerging pro-Trump argument that the president’s deference to Putin was a means to making diplomatic in-roads with Russia.