Members Of Arizona’s Congressional Delegation Respond (Or Don’t) To Trump-Putin Press Conference

Published: Wednesday, July 18, 2018 - 8:32am
Updated: Wednesday, July 18, 2018 - 8:57am

While Arizona’s two senators came out strongly condemning President Donald Trump’s statements in Helsinki, the state’s House Republicans have been much less forceful.

On Tuesday, Russia talk dominated the regular Washington event called “Conversations with Conservatives.” Members of the House Freedom Caucus, like Republican Andy Biggs from Arizona's 5th Congressional District, repeatedly avoided criticizing President Trump over his press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Instead, they took aim at the media.

“I thought it was really odd that a reporter in Helsinki, Finland, after the conclusion of a brief summit, would ask President Trump the question that triggered this whole odd reaction that the summit was a failure because President Trump did not castigate and attack Vladimir Putin,” Biggs said.

He called it “bizarre” that a reporter would ask Putin if he had compromising material on Trump or his family.

“You wanna know what gave me a little bit of angst over that? The idiocy of those two questions,” he said.

Another member of the Freedom Caucus, 8th District Republican Debbie Lesko, tried to straddle the fence a bit more.

“And so I think it’s good, on the one hand, that the president is reaching out to other countries and trying to build a relationship, including Russia. But it’s also important that we realize the seriousness of the nature of Russia meddling in our elections,” she said.

Meanwhile, GOP 2nd District Congresswoman Martha McSally’s statement listed actions Trump and Congress have taken against Russia, like stricter sanctions passed last year. But she added, “I do wish the President’s words on Putin [on Monday] were as strong as his actions.”

Neither 4th District's Paul Gosar of Flagstaff nor 6th District's David Schweikert of Fountain Hills, both Republicans, returned requests for comment.

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