Los Angeles: Former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has lashed out at US President Donald Trump’s rebuke of American intelligence agencies during a news conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Trump stunned the world on Monday by shying away from criticising the Russian leader for Moscow’s actions to undermine the election and cast doubt on US intelligence agencies, prompting calls by some US lawmakers for tougher sanctions and other actions to punish Russia.
“President Trump, I just saw your press conference with President Putin and it was embarrassing,” Schwarzenegger said in a Facebook video on Monday, unshaven and appearing distraught.
“I mean you stood there like a little wet noodle, like a little fanboy.
“I mean, I was asking myself, ‘When are you going to ask him for an autograph or for a selfie or something like that?’ ”
Schwarzenegger, who has repeatedly tangled with Trump, said the President “sold out” the nation as well as its intelligence and justice systems.
“You’re the President of the United States, you shouldn’t do that. What’s the matter with you?
“I mean, whatever happened to the strong words or to the strength of Ronald Reagan when he stood there at the Berlin Wall, and he said, ‘Mr Gorbachev, tear down this wall.’
“What happened to all that?” Schwarzenegger said, before sighing heavily.
Trump tried on Tuesday to calm the storm, saying he misspoke in the joint news conference with Putin.
Trump, who was given numerous opportunities to rebuke Putin publicly during the news conference in Helsinki, instead praised the Russian leader for his “strong and powerful” denial of the conclusions of US intelligence agencies that the Russian state meddled in the election.
Standing alongside Putin, Trump told reporters he was not convinced it was Moscow. “I don’t see any reason why it would be,” Trump said.
But more than 24 hours after his appearance with Putin, Trump told reporters at the White House: “I said the word ‘would’ instead of ‘wouldn’t’,
“The sentence should have been, ‘I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t be Russia.’ ”
Los Angeles Times, Reuters