From ‘say again’ to ‘war criminal’: Bizarre pearls of anti-Putin frenzy sparked by Trump’s invite

From ‘say again’ to ‘war criminal’: Bizarre pearls of anti-Putin frenzy sparked by Trump’s invite
Breaking news that President Vladimir Putin may come to the US this fall came out of the blue for many Trump haters and Russia bashers. Here are some of the mad rants from the full-throttle frenzy engulfing America’s elite.

A carefully-worded White House statement that confirmed Putin is likely to visit Washington on the invitation of Donald Trump has triggered an avalanche of fiery attacks on both leaders.

Director of National Intelligence Dat Coats provided the most ‘measured’ of those responses. News that Trump and Putin are likely to meet in Washington simply caught him off-guard while he was speaking at the Aspen Security Forum on Thursday.

“Say that again?” Coats offered, after the moderator told him of the announcement. “OK. That's going to be special,” he added with a grimace. Coats had uttered just a few words to show he was shell-shocked with the prospect of Trump meeting Putin again. Other bigwigs in the US establishment were far more articulate.  

“Trump wants to invite Putin – the individual responsible for spearheading the attack on our democracy – to the White House on the eve of the 2018 midterm elections,” Nancy Pelosi, House minority leader, tweeted. Going on, she lambasted the Republicans, claiming they refuse to protect “our election systems.”

Rep. Eric Swalwell, member of the House Intelligence Committee, urged followers to “stay loud” and make sure Putin and Trump “are not alone” when they meet at the White House.

While politicians – at least the ones with the status of Coats or Pelosi – do stick to some degree of civility, some media figures do not.

Stephen Colbert had made a toast to the “beautiful and friendly” Russian people and sarcastically announced a 2020 presidential bid on the ‘Evening Urgant’ talk show aired on state Channel 1 last year. 

READ MORE: Putin-Trump summit: Not Munich, Pearl Harbor or Yalta, just Helsinki

The moment that shocked the ‘Late Night’ host was when former Democrat presidential nominee Bernie Sanders tweeted that an upcoming “second meeting” with the Russian president is now being discussed with Moscow. “Second meeting?!” the comedian shouted in disbelief. “Where would he even meet with a universally-condemned war criminal strongman who personally ordered the attack on our election?”

Later in the day, Colbert launched a series of rants, asking in one if “the Fall of 2018” will mark Putin’s visit, or “the Fall of Democracy.”

Other public figures also declined to mince their words. Here are some of more prominent outbursts.  

While the rants may sound familiar in some quarters, the scale of the anger vented by notable US pundits suggests something may have got out of hand in the American system.

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