Washington Free Beacon editor in chief Matthew Continetti said on Fox News Tuesday that it was a major mistake for President Donald Trump to equate the opinions of Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats with those of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
"Special Report" anchor Bret Baier asked Continetti if Trump should have pressed Putin in his meeting to tell him to cease any efforts to interfere in U.S. elections, and Continetti noted that Trump tends to be harsher in private settings.
"We don't know what was said in the private meeting and I think if you looked back at President Trump's history of diplomacy, I think he is much more willing to be harsher in the private settings, at least with these authoritarian leaders, than he is in the public ones," Continetti said.
"People wanted the president not to necessarily equate the opinions of his own Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats with those of Vladimir Putin. That was, I think, the major mistake," he added.
"The moral equivalence," Baier said.
"Exactly, that sense of moral equivalence I think only leads President Putin to think he has more of a free hand when it comes to intruding and meddling in our elections and in cyberspace," Continetti said.
He added that Trump has been very effective in reestablishing deterrence in security areas, but he may still have a blindspot "where it comes to cyber intrusions and election meddling."