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NJ Republicans react to Trump’s Russia statements

By Nikita Biryukov, July 16 2018 4:57 pm

Editor’s note: This article was updated with comment from Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen at 5:20 p.m. and with comment from Assemblyman Jay Webber at 8:50 p.m.

A number of New Jersey Republicans joined in a chorus of Republican voices upset with President Donald Trump’s Monday statements that cast aspersions at the intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia interfered in the 2016 election.

“President Putin says it’s not Russia. I don’t see any reason why it would be,” Trump said at a press joint press conference with Russian President Vladimir.

Congressional Republicans took the yet-unheard of step of voicing their opposition to Trump’s statement unprompted, and statements poured out from members of the majority caucuses of both chambers of Congress, including one from House Speaker Paul Ryan.

Some New Jersey Republicans responded in a similar manner, while others stood by the president. Look below for their statements.

Assemblyman Jay Webber: “America’s foreign policy should recognize that Russia under Vladimir Putin is a rival in Europe and the Middle East that needs to be confronted and opposed when it interferes with our elections or threatens the peace and security of our allies.  As a Member of Congress, I will always stand up for America’s interests when it comes to facing Russian aggression, in whatever form.  I urge the President to do the same at every opportunity.”

Rep. Tom MacArthur: “Just days ago, our nation’s Department of Justice indicted 12 Russian intelligence officers for meddling in the 2016 election. Clean and fair elections are the bedrock of our more than 200-year-old democracy. The United States, especially the President, should take any foreign government’s attempt to influence election results as a threat to our democracy itself.”

“I take issue with President Trump blaming the state of our relationship on our supposed ‘foolishness and stupidity.’ Our relationship with Russia is strained because of Vladimir Putin’s actions. He has invaded his neighbors, attacked America’s allies, and interfered with our elections and the elections of our closest allies. Putin is a corrupt, murderous thug and cannot be trusted. He is a threat to global security, and we need to remind our friends and our foes that the United States stands strongly opposed to this autocratic kleptocrat.”

U.S. Senate Candidate Bob Hugin: “Let’s be clear: Russian interference in our electiosn was an attack on our democracy and our way of life, and President Trump’s failure to hold Vladimir Putin publicly accountable today was very distressing. Strong relationships are built on honest dialogue and mutual trust, and today’s summit fell woefully short of achieving either between out nations.”

House candidate Seth Grossman (on Twitter): “Our President wrote the Art of the Deal. His mastery of diplomatic negotiation is second to none on the global stage. With North Korean aggression on the decline and a peace deal within reach, America has no reason not to trust his judgement in Helsinki. I stand with Trump!”

Rep. Leonard Lance: “The President is wrong; we cannot trust the word of Putin.  We must trust our U.S. intel assessment as well as investigations by House/Senate Intel committees that concluded Russia interfered in our election & continues to be hostile to the U.S. & democracies around the world.”

Rep. Frank LoBiondo (on Twitter): “I strongly disagree w/ statement that Russia did not meddle in 2016 election. With all I have seen on House Intel Comm & additional indictments of 12 Russian officers last week, it is clear Russia’s intentions. President Trump missed opportunity to hold Putin publicly accountable”

Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen: “It is unacceptable that the President of the United States would deny the findings of our own intelligence community on Russian meddling in the last election and then fail to publicly demand an end to these attacks on our democracy.   The American people have every right to be upset!”

Former Gov. Christine Todd Whitman (on Twitter): “Mr #President, you should be ashamed. To deny your own country and government in favor of a foriegn [sic] leader whose country has, for decades, tried to undermine the #UnitedStates is irrational and dangerous.  Please step down, you are not fit to lead this great #nation. #TrumpPutin”

Rep. Chris Smith put out a statement that mentioned Russian election meddling but did not mention Trump. Smith’s statement did not weigh in on Trump’s statements either.

House Candidate John McCann does not appear to have commented on Trump’s statement yet. The Globe’s call to McCann for comment, made at 4:26 p.m., has yet to hear back. This article will be updated with comment once it is received.

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