There was an amazing show of strength at the press conference following the Helsinki summit yesterday.
And that display of strength didn’t come from President Trump, who shied away from taking a stand against Russia’s attacks on our election like a seventh grader at a junior high mixer.
And it didn’t come from the murderous thug Vladimir Putin. Bullies aren’t strong. They’re just bullies. Throwing your weight around when you control the guys with the guns isn’t all that impressive.
No, the show of strength came from American reporters, specifically Jonathan Lemire of the Associate Press and Jeff Mason from Reuters, who stood up, identified themselves, and asked full-throated and difficult questions of Mr. Trump and Mr. Putin.
Lemire asked if Trump could tell Putin in front of the world that he thinks the Russians meddled in the election and that he doesn’t want them to do so again.
Mason asked Mr. Trump if he blames Russia for any of the mess he finds himself in, including Russian hackers of servers belonging to the Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton.
Consider that for one moment. Two reporters managed to demonstrate to President Putin why our country is so strong, and his is so weak. In our country, the media can ask a sitting President questions designed to make him feel uncomfortable with no fear of imprisonment or assassination. Which means American presidents are subject to a level of scrutiny unheard of in dictatorial regimes. And that makes it much harder for any President to assume the death grip control that Putin enjoys.
President Trump, Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Sean Hannity may find it “disrespectful” when reporters ask tough questions at press conferences. But the better, more accurate description is “patriotic.”