Trump-Putin Summit

Nishtha Sharma, Staff Writer

“Babying [Trump] is not going to work anymore, because he’s blatantly distrusting our own intelligence agencies,” Jordan Ferdman (10) said, regarding President Trump’s comments during his July 16th Helsinki summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

According to USA Today, Trump’s statements undermined US intelligence agencies. Ferdman, among others, was taken by surprise upon hearing Trump’s claim that he did not see any reason why Russia would have meddled in the 2016 presidential election, she said.

“I think the summit was an embarrassment,” Alex Crotty (12) said. “Trump repeatedly defended Putin and inadvertently said that he trusts [him] over his own country’s intelligence service…it’s extremely disheartening to me,” she said.

Trump’s commentary was incredibly inappropriate and did not fit with his brand, Reha Mathur (11) said. “Trump markets himself as this strong guy, yet he acted like the exact opposite with Putin…in my opinion, he embarrassed America even more than he already has,” she said.

“The Trump administration is hailing Trump as a patriotic man, but at the same time, he’s contradicting himself by not believing his own agencies,” Ferdman said.

Moreover, Trump’s comment drew immediate controversy as protestors gathered outside the White House days after Trump announced his apparent support for Russia, according to USA Today. However, the article reported that Trump changed his statement a day later, stating he intended to say that he sees no reason as to why Russia would not have interfered.

“The fact that he received criticism from both parties suggests that [the criticism] is strongly justified, because the way he behaved with Putin is completely against the norms,” English teacher Dr. Andrew Fippinger said.

“I think that people should be mad, and we should have the right to speak what we think,” Aidan McAndrew (10) said. “It’s really hard to tell when he truly misspeaks, but I think that what he said, he meant.”

Ferdman believes Trump knew what he was doing, she said. “It’s convenient to say he’s a ‘Washington newcomer,’ but at the end of the day, he’s in his 70’s, and he’s also a businessman; he’s had experience.”

“I’ve given up on trying to parse Trump’s every word,” Fippinger said. “I can’t predict what he means to say, but I do think that the president should be able to speak clearly, particularly when speaking about such an important issue,” he said.

Conversely, some students believe President Trump made an honest mistake with his words. Joshua Benson (12) believes that Trump is not a good speaker, and therefore, his mix-up with a “double negative” was most likely an error, he said.

Benson feels that Russian interference played a much smaller role in the presidential elections than democratic centrists may think, he said.

Liberal critics need to widen their lens, Benson said. “I think a lot of the criticism Trump received was justified, but I also think people are missing the point…When a lot of centrists and Democrats focus on this meeting as treason, they lose focus of the fact that Putin is a war criminal and distract from the plethora of morally repugnant acts Trump has committed,” he said.

While Zach Brooks (11) feels that the protests were unwarranted, the American people deserve to know what was discussed at the summit in full length, he said.

“We need to know what was said, and what Trump plans to do about [Russian interference]…that being said, you can’t punish him for meeting with world leaders; that’s part of his job,” Brooks said.

“I think morality is headed out the window,” McAndrew said. “[The summit] was a big statement that Trump and Putin can do whatever they want.”