President Donald Trump on Thursday stepped up his attacks on the European Union and the media, as he remained on the defensive over his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin and put in motion plans for a second summit.
RUSSIA MEETING WAS A ‘GREAT SUCCESS’
Trump devoted much of his effort to responding to the heavily criticized press conference he held alongside Putin in Helsinki. He tweeted out a clip from Fox News showing the occasions on which he had said Russia was responsible for meddling in U.S. elections. Even that clip, however, shows Trump saying that other countries and people also were responsible — an addendum he made on Tuesday to a statement he read out. His own intelligence agencies have not backed that assertion.
Trump maintained the summit with Russia was a “great success, except with the real enemy of the people, the Fake News Media.” On the topics Trump enumerated — stopping terrorism, security for Israel, nuclear proliferation, cyberattacks, trade, Ukraine, Middle East peace and North Korea — it’s not clear what if anything has been agreed after his one-on-one meeting with Putin. The White House has not held any briefings or released any documents about the substance of the Trump-Putin meeting, even as a spokesman for the Russian Defense Ministry was suggesting that action was being taken by the Kremlin on the agreements reached at the summit.
Later Thursday, Sarah Sanders, the White House press secretary, confirmed on Twitter reports that Trump had asked national-security adviser John Bolton to invite Putin to the White House in the fall.
The president has frequently used the term “enemy of the people” to describe the press. “60 Minutes” correspondent Lesley Stahl has said Trump told her he uses that term so that the public won’t believe media stories.
Also read: Trump says he’s ‘not happy’ with Fed raising interest rates
‘I TOLD YOU SO’
Trump also used the European Commission’s fine of Google GOOG, -0.75% to justify his attacks on continental allies.
Trump has already levied tariffs on steel and aluminum and is threatening to increase them on cars. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said Thursday it is too early to say if tariffs on autos will be imposed at a hearing.
Trade-war tracker: Here are the new levies, imposed and threatened
The president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, is due to meet Trump next week in Washington. The two leaders will discuss a range of priorities, including foreign and security policy, counterterrorism, energy security, and economic growth, the White House says.
Related: Trump threatens EU with ‘tremendous retribution’ via auto tariffs