NORTH CAROLINA -- As President Donald Trump walked back his comments from Helsinki, some North Carolina lawmakers doubled down on criticism, while others took a softer tone.
- Trump's press conference alongside Russian leader Vladimir Putin sparked a firestorm on Capitol Hill, with lawmakers from both sides of the aisle offering blistering critiques.
- In that press conference, Trump appeared to cozy up with Putin while questioning U.S. intelligence reports that Russia meddled in the 2016 election
Trump's press conference alongside Russian leader Vladimir Putin sparked a firestorm on Capitol Hill, with lawmakers from both sides of the aisle offering blistering critiques.
In that press conference, Trump appeared to cozy up with Putin while questioning U.S. intelligence reports that Russia meddled in the 2016 election.
In a surprise press statement Tuesday, Trump did a 180. The president chalked it up to poor phrasing. "I accept our intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia’s meddling in 2016 election took place," he said.
Democrats fired back with new criticism, arguing the president cannot "squirm" out of another controversy.
Rep. David Price, D-4th District, tweeted: "President Trump can walk back one word, but he can't walk back an entire day of cozying up to Putin while publicly denigrating the American intelligence community. Prepared remarks change nothing."
Meanwhile, some conservative lawmakers offered an overall softer tone when when discussing the Helsinki press conference overall. They blamed the media for causing the uproar.
"There are times foreign policy sounds bad and works good, there are times it sounds good and works poorly. I’d rather have the first rather than the latter and I think yesterday, we’re seeing foreign policy that actually works," said Rep. Mark Meadows, R-11th District. Meadows heads up the conservative Freedom Caucus.
Meadows said instead, it is time for lawmakers to take action aimed at preventing election interference going forward. Meadows may find some Democrat support for these ideas. However, getting anything through Congress is a bit of a long-shot.
"I don’t care what Putin’s preference was," Meadows said. "It’s incumbent upon us to make sure our electoral process makes sure that John or Sally on Main Street, that their preference is what counts and is preeminent."