As someone who had the honor, privilege and responsibility of serving in a Presidential administration under President Obama, and who has a brother who has honorably served in the U.S. Army for 29 years, President Trump’s statements today in Helsinki are shocking, appalling and damaging to the pride and respect that comes with the Office of President of the United States and disrespectful to all of us as American citizens.

In an embarrassing and disgraceful scene on the world stage, President Trump dishonored the moral fabric of American people and all people in our world who seek truth instead of tyranny, decency over dishonesty. Trump chose to accept the statements made by Russian President Vladimir Putin, a former KGB spy, inexplicably conveying that he didn’t see any reason why Russia would interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential elections despite the findings of our national intelligence agencies. Even in the midst of indictments against members of the Russian government, the President of the United States publicly sided with a thug instead of defending the United States and conveying full confidence in inpiduals who serve our country and put their lives at risk to protect all of us.

The President has put his personal interests ahead of America’s national security, while those in his administration and an overwhelming number in the Republican Party stand idly by in resounding silence. Trump made it clear today that he does not care about America being respected as long as he feels empowered by dictators and corrupt leaders. We must denounce misinformation, treasonous activity, and public deception that breaches the American people’s trust and damages our democracy.

If you had any doubt why this country is in need of progressive, bold leadership now, this is a stark reminder that we need elected officials and public servants who will honorably defend our United States Constitution, American democracy, national security and ensure dramatic change in this political year. It is time for Republicans to stop providing talking points and start protecting our country. Today’s joint press conference with Putin and Trump was your clearest indication that we cannot be silent anymore.