12th District Congressional Candidates Weigh In On Trump-Putin Meeting

U.S. Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, left, and challenger Daryl Kipnis issued statements concerning Pres. Trump’s recent meeting with Russian president Putin.

Two Congressional candidates have weighed in on Pres. Donald Trump’s meeting with Russian president Vladimir Putin, and, as expected, their reactions are split down party lines.

Township resident Daryl Kipnis is the Republican challenger to Democratic incumbent U.S. Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman for the state’s 12th Congressional District seat in the House.

Trump on July 16 held a controversial meeting with the Russian president, several days after a dozen high-ranking Russian military officials were indicted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller for meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Trump further stoked the controversy following the meeting when, standing next to Putin during a press conference, he rejected the assessment made by the U.S. intelligence community and the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee that the Russians did  meddle in that election.

Facing a firestorm of reaction from both Democrats and Republicans, Trump on July 17 said he did, in fact, accept the conclusion that Russia “and probably others” meddled in the election.

Rep. Watson, in a written statement, said that Trump and his administration do not have the United States’ best interests at heart.

“President Trump and his political allies are under investigation for possibly helping Russia throw the election,” she said in the statement. “Just a few days ago, our Justice Department indicted Russian intelligence officers for hacking the DNC. All of our nation’s intelligence agencies have verified that Russia engaged in deliberate efforts to disrupt the United States’ democratic process. But today at a joint press conference, when asked if he holds Russia accountable for anything, Trump said ‘we’re all to blame.’ Hours later, a Russian national with Trump campaign ties has been charged with conspiracy to act as a foreign agent.”

“This meeting should have been cancelled,” the statement read. “This President shouldn’t have wanted to chitchat with Putin alone, behind closed doors, knowing what he’s tried to do. Anyone elected to public office who can continue to turn a blind eye to Trump’s actions just for partisan gains doesn’t deserve their title. This man, and his administration, have made it crystal clear whose side they’re on, whose talking points they’re following, and whose interests they intend to represent — and I can tell you they’re not ours.”

In his statement, Kipnis said that Trump’s actions should be given more weight than his words.

“The only way to truly measure the impact of President Donald Trump’s meeting in Helsinki with Vladimir Putin is not based on the words that were either said, or not said, on camera today, but on the actions and results that follow tomorrow and thereafter,” he said in the statement.

“As demonstrated by the reference to U.S. Supreme Court nominee ‘XX’ in a pre-printed response to the
president’s nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh, there are many on the left who would say the same exact things about the president no matter what he said today,” Kipnis said. “Moreover, it’s difficult to filter the facts when media outlets are competing for viewers and turning to more extreme and salacious language to do it, particularly when it concerns the president.”

“The bottom line is that Donald Trump is our president and they are not,” he said. “I invite them to join me and the rest of the country in prayer that our president will continue to protect and promote the interests of the American people on the world stage and advocate for peace that consists not only of the absence of conflict, but the presence of justice.”


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