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Maryland Rep. Andy Harris praises Trump's Russia summit, bashes press

President Donald J. Trump’s appearance with Russian President Vladimir Putin has drawn broad condemnation from Democratic and Republicans alike. Senator John McCain, a Republican from Arizona, called Trump’s actions Monday at the Helsinki summit “one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in memory.”

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, also a Republican, said in a tweet that, Trump, in defending Putin from U.S. intelligence findings that Russia meddled in the 2016 presidential election, “failed to stand up for our country.”

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But a handful of Trump loyalists remain in the president’s camp. Among them is Baltimore County’s own Rep. Andy Harris.

The Republican on Tuesday praised the appearance as “a successful summit” and said, “I disregard and discount anything that involves the mainstream media press.”

Harris’ comments reflect some of the same sentiments as Trump — who has called reporters enemies of the people — and come weeks after five newspaper employees in his home state were gunned down. The suspect, Jarrod Ramos, 38, of Laurel, had a longstanding feud with the newspaper company, the Capital Gazette, which is owned by the Baltimore Sun Media Group.

At a Tuesday event called “Conversations with Conservatives,” featuring members of the Freedom Caucus, a reporter asked whether members supported the president’s performance in Helsinki.

Harris fired back by criticizing the media.

“Given the unfriendliness of the press toward the president, why should we focus on a press conference?” Harris asked. “We should concentrate on the summit. The summit in fact had the two world superpowers sit down and discuss in a civilized way for two hours privately, and then two hours with staff, the wide gamut of issues that are important to this world. I call that a success. A successful summit.”

Harris’ office did not immediately respond to a request for further comment.

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