President Donald Trump’s proposed “cybersecurity unit” with Russian President Vladimir Putin is already dead, after Trump announced Sunday night that the idea couldn’t work.
“The fact that President Putin and I discussed a cybersecurity unit doesn’t mean I think it can happen. It can’t,” Trump tweeted. “But a ceasefire can, and did!”
Trump’s about-face on the planned cybersecurity unit came just 13 hours after he first touted the cybersecurity unit, which he said would be “impenetrable” and would ward off “election hacking, and many other negative things.”
Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin went on ABC’s This Week Sunday morning to tout the proposed cybersecurity unit, calling it a “very significant accomplishment” for Trump.
But the planned cybersecurity unit was immediately and widely panned by people from all sides of the political spectrum, who questioned why Trump would work on a cybersecurity unit with the leader of a country who carried out coordinated hacks of democratic institutions in the United States.
“I’m sure that Vladimir Putin could be of enormous assistance in that effort since he is doing the hacking,” Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said of the unit.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said on Meet the Press that the idea of a cybersecurity unit with Putin is “not the dumbest idea I ever heard, but it’s pretty close.”
“The fox is willing to build the hen house,” former Hillary Clinton Campaign Manager Robby Mook tweeted, referring to Putin working with the U.S. on cybersecurity. “How kind.”
And Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) compared working with Putin on cybersecurity to working with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad — who has carried out chemical attacks on his own people — on a chemical weapons unit.
“While reality and pragmatism requires that we engage Vladimir Putin, he will never be a trusted ally or a reliable constructive partner,” Rubio said.