NJ Politics Digest: NJ Lawmakers From Both Sides Blast Trump After Putin Meeting

These days, it takes a lot to unite New Jersey lawmakers from both sides of the political aisle.

U.S. President Donald Trump (L) and Russia's President Vladimir Putin reach out to shake hands before attending a joint press conference after a meeting at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki, on July 16, 2018.
U.S. President Donald Trump (L) and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin shake hands before attending a joint press conference after a meeting at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki, on July 16, 2018. YURI KADOBNOV/AFP/Getty Images

These days, it takes a lot to unite New Jersey lawmakers from both sides of the political aisle. But President Donald Trump meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin can do it.

On Monday, both Democrat and Republican lawmakers from the Garden State expressed disappointment at Trump’s performance in Helsinki, according to a report on NorthJersey.com.

Christine Todd Whitman, a longtime Republican critic of the president, called on Trump to resign following the president’s failure to condemn Russia for meddling in the 2016 elections.

But even more surprising was the criticisim leveled by Republican Rep. Tom MacArthur, who has supported Trump when no other federal legislator in New Jersey would.

“I take issue with President Trump blaming the state of our relationship on our supposed ‘foolishness and stupidity,'” MacArthur (R-Toms River) said in a statement. “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.”

Only Republican Rep. Chris Smith stopped short of criticizing the president’s embrace of Putin, saying Trump’s summit with Putin “raised important issues,” including human rights, terrorism and the Syria conflict, according to the NorthJersey.com report.

Democrats, of course, did not hold back in their criticism of Trump, with Sen. Cory Booker decrying “presidential malfeasance” while Gov. Phil Murphy, who—like Booker—is rumored to have presidential ambitions of his own, labelled the president’s actions “jaw dropping.”

Quote of the Day: “The problem I have of re-cutting a deal on the pension side is that we have left the public-sector employees at the altar now for 20 years.” — Gov. Phil Murphy, expressing reluctance to tackle reform of public employee benefits and pensions.

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