Rep. Will Hurd (R-Texas) skewered President Donald Trump‘s handling of his much-criticized press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin earlier this week in an op-ed published by the New York Times.
In the op-ed, titled “Trump Is Being Manipulated by Putin. What Should We Do?,” Hurd—a former CIA operative—calls out Trump’s refusal to condemn Russia for its alleged election meddling and argues that he stood “idle” as Putin “spouted lies.”
“By playing into Vladimir Putin’s hands, the leader of the free world actively participated in a Russian disinformation campaign that legitimized Russian denial and weakened the credibility of the United States to both our friends and foes abroad,” Hurd writes.
Following Trump’s press conference, many Republicans slammed Trump’s remarks. But none went as far as Hurd’s blistering op-ed.
“In this dangerous geopolitical environment, we must be both vigilant and strong in responding to foreign threats,” he wrote. “The challenges posed by Russia are no different, and I hope the president shares my conviction that American strength, not weakness, is the best way to preserve a secure world in the face of adversaries like Russia.”
The president has attempted several times to try and push back against the wave of criticism he’s faced since his press conference earlier this week.
On Tuesday he attempted to clarify what he meant in a “key sentence,” which only led to thousands of people online making fun of him. On Thursday, the president posted a Fox & Friends clip of him talking about Russia’s election interference, but also hedging that statement by suggesting other countries may have been involved.
You can read all of Hurd’s op-ed in the New York Times here.