Politics

Majority of Americans Approve of Trump Hosting Putin in D.C.

Despite bipartisan backlash and mass media hysteria, new poll finds most voters think a second meeting is a good idea

Image Credit: ALEXEY NIKOLSKY/AFP/Getty Images

A majority of Americans support President Donald Trump’s proposal to host Russian President Vladimir Putin for a follow-up summit in the fall, despite the bipartisan backlash Trump fielded following last week’s controversial summit in Helsinki, according to an American Barometer poll released Monday.

“The American voter has a very healthy and nuanced perspective on the issue,” HarrisX CEO Dritan Nesho said Monday on Hill.TV’s “What America’s Thinking.” The Hill and the HarrisX polling company run the American Barometer poll.

“They support the president on his position on the issues, as we saw, and actually have a pretty pragmatic view about how we should handle Russia,” Nesho said. “They believe in engagement with Russia, they believe in dialogue with Russia, and they’re not worried about an invitation to President Putin this fall.”

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Fifty-four percent of those surveyed believe Trump’s proposal to host Putin in Washington, D.C., in the fall is a good idea, while 46 percent rejected the idea. Eighty-seven percent of Republicans and 54 percent of independents were among those who approve of a second Putin summit.

The American Barometer poll surveyed 1,001 registered voters July 21-22.

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Trump was widely condemned following his press conference alongside Putin in Helsinki, prompting the president and his officials to issue several corrections throughout the week. Trump said he holds “both countries responsible” for Russia’s interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election because “we’re all to blame.” The president also said that while he has “great confidence in my intelligence people,” he believed Putin “was extremely strong and powerful in his denial” of Russian interference.

Trump clarified Tuesday that he has “full faith and support for America’s great intelligence agencies” and has pledged to “repel” any future Russian efforts to interfere in U.S. elections. The president also insisted that he met with Putin “in an attempt to tackle some of the most pressing issues facing humanity,” despite knowing it could be poorly received in the U.S.

“My meeting with President Putin was really interesting in so many different ways because we haven’t had relationships with Russia for a long time,” Trump said Tuesday. “I entered the meeting with the firm conviction that diplomacy and engagement is better than hostility and conflict.”

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The American Barometer poll found that a majority of Americans agree with Trump. Sixty-one percent of the survey’s respondents said strengthening U.S.-Russia relations is in the nation’s best interests.

Related: Trump Clarifies Controversial Helsinki Remarks on Putin’s Meddling Denial

Although multiple polls taken during the Helsinki summit fallout — including the American Barometer poll — showed majorities of Americans disapproved of Trump’s performance in the news conference with Putin after their private meeting, a clear majority of respondents still think engaging with Russia is beneficial and worth pursuing.

Trump placed a large portion of the blame for the Helsinki summit backlash on the mainstream media outlets Monday, writing, “When you hear the Fake News talking negatively about my meeting with President Putin, and all that I gave up, remember, I gave up NOTHING, we merely talked about future benefits for both countries. Also, we got along very well, which is a good thing, except for the Corrupt Media!”

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