Helsinki is thousands of miles away from Fort Hamilton Parkway, but the fallout over President Donald Trump’s performance at his high-stakes meeting Monday with Russia President Vladimir Putin in the capital of Finland is having ramifications here in Brooklyn.
Democrat Max Rose, who is running against Republican U.S. Rep. Dan Donovan in New York’s 11th Congressional District (Southwest Brooklyn-Staten Island) in November, blasted the incumbent’s response to statements made by the president at a press conference in Helsinki following a closed-door meeting with Putin.
Trump appeared to reject the view of the U.S. intelligence community that Russia interfered with the 2016 presidential election. He appeared instead to side with Putin, who denied any wrongdoing. The U.S. president also stated that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s ongoing investigation of Russian meddling in the election is largely responsible for troubled diplomatic relations between the two countries.
Trump’s comments were met with a stinging rebuke from lawmakers and intelligence experts on both sides of the political aisle.
Donovan, who was endorsed by Trump in the Republican Primary on June 26, a contest he won handily against former Congressmember Michael Grimm, defended the president and called for an end to the Mueller probe.
“I have consistently said that I agree with the intelligence community’s and House Intelligence Committee’s assessment that Russia tried to meddle in the 2016 election, and they should be held accountable. However, in an almost two-year investigation, there has been zero evidence of collusion. It’s time for the probe to reach a conclusion so detractors can stop using it as a political football to undermine the president,” Donovan said in a statement published in City and State.
Rose accused Donovan of chickening out.
“At a moment where members of both parties are rightfully calling out the president’s actions yesterday, Congressman Dan Donovan cannot muster up the courage to challenge the president when he defended a hostile foreign power instead of standing up for America and the people who risk their lives to keep us safe. Staten Islanders and Brooklynites do not need a spineless door-mat as our congressman. We need someone with the courage to put country before party,” Rose said.
Jessica Proud, Donovan’s campaign spokesperson, fired back at Rose.
“He’s welcome to stick to his hollow partisan attacks, and Dan will continue focusing on real solutions to the serious and complex challenges we face,” Proud told this newspaper in an email.