Monday saw another strong contender: the D-word.
Once again, @realDonaldTrump takes to the international stage to embarrass America, undermine our institutions, weaken our alliances, & embrace a dictator. Russia interfered in our elections & attacked our democracy. Putin must be held accountable – not rewarded. Disgraceful.— Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) July 16, 2018
It was a response that could have been lifted from the lexicon of Trump himself.
As the pair of world leaders faced reporters on Monday, Trump fielded questions about the Justice Department’s probe of election interference and possible ties to his campaign. But the U.S. president wanted to talk about Hillary Clinton’s emails.
“What happened to Hillary Clinton’s emails? 33,000 emails gone — just gone. I think in Russia they wouldn’t be gone so easily. I think it’s a disgrace that we can’t get Hillary Clinton’s 33,000 emails,” Trump said of the server scandal that dogged his onetime presidential opponent and the former secretary of State.
The commander-in-chief went on to characterize counterintelligence agent Peter Strzok, who appeared before Congress last week, as “a disgrace to the FBI” and “a disgrace to our country.”
What followed was an hours-long “disgrace”-off, as lawmakers took to Twitter to turn the word on its head.
“For the President to side with Putin over his own intelligence officials and blame the United States for Russia’s attack on our democracy is a complete disgrace,” Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia tweeted, chiding Trump for swallowing the Russian president’s insistence that his government did not meddle.
For the President to side with Putin over his own intelligence officials and blame the United States for Russia’s attack on our democracy is a complete disgrace.— Mark Warner (@MarkWarner) July 16, 2018
The word was used by Democrats and Republicans alike. Ailing Sen. John McCain, who is battling brain cancer at home in Arizona, slammed Putin and Trump’s meeting as “one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in memory.”
Today’s press conference in #Helsinki was one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in memory.My full statement on the #HelsinkiSummit: https://t.co/lApjctZyZl — John McCain (@SenJohnMcCain) July 16, 2018
Massachusetts Sen. Edward J. Markey shared McCain’s disdain. The Democrat tweeted that Trump “disgraced the office of the presidency” today by siding with Putin and declared the summit “a national embarrassment.”
Trump wasted this opportunity, undermined his own intelligence community, and disgraced the office of the Presidency. Putin got everything he could have wanted from this meeting, while the U.S. got nothing. The #Helsinki Humiliation is a national embarrassment.— Ed Markey (@SenMarkey) July 16, 2018
Even journalists gravitated toward the word. Anderson Cooper used it on CNN in the aftermath of the press conference.
“You have been watching perhaps one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president at a summit in front of a Russian leader, really, that I’ve ever seen — an extraordinary press conference,” Cooper said.
As the D-word swirled on the Hill, Sen. Tim Kaine was among the first to push back against the trend. “What we saw today from President Trump isn't just disgraceful; it makes Americans less safe,” the Virginia Democrat tweeted. “By siding with a hostile foreign power over American law enforcement, he is jeopardizing our future national security and emboldening our enemies.”
Watch: Trump Defies Own Intel Director on Evidence of Russian Election Interference