Press Release ● Defense and National Security
For Immediate Release: 
June 28, 2018
Contact Info: 
Annaliese Davis 202-225-4131
WASHINGTON, DC - House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) released the following statement today on the announcement of President Trump's summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin:

“That President Trump is set to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki next month makes a mockery of history. It was in Helsinki in 1975 that thirty-five nations, including the Soviet Union, agreed to respect human rights and basic freedoms of their people. As Chairman of the Helsinki Commission at the end of the Cold War, I saw firsthand how a growing respect for human rights transformed into positive change that brought down Communism in Russia. Today, President Putin has turned Russia once more into an autocratic state, where the human rights of its people, particularly for LGBT people and for the press, have been severely curtailed. 

“If President Trump is to meet with President Putin, it would be irresponsible for him not to address Russia’s human rights shortcomings. At the same time, he must confront President Putin on Russia’s interference in our elections and insist that Russia end its illegal occupation of Crimea and its destabilizing activities in Eastern Ukraine and in Syria. To ignore these issues would be an abdication of his responsibilities as President of the United States. 

“The President may think he can play good cop, but backslapping and smiles will not change the Russian President’s behavior or stop Russia’s aggression or its nefarious efforts to undermine American democracy. I urge him to take a tough approach and to do so in concert with the NATO allies he will meet with before traveling to Helsinki.”