During the infamous congratulatory call to Russian President Vladimir Putin for his re-election, President Donald Trump reportedly challenged Putin to a nuclear arms race.
"If you want to have an arms race we can do that, but I'll win," the U.S. president allegedly boasted. He also reportedly bragged about bagging a $700 billion defense budget, indirectly warning the Russian leader.
However, later when Trump discussed his call with the media, he did not mention any tension between the two leaders, saying he “had a very good call.”
Trump reportedly also instructed his aides not to disclose U.S. has supplied weapons to Ukraine to help them fight against Russian-backed separatists in fear that it might agitate Putin.
Trump’s national security advisers apparently spent months convincing Trump to agree to send weapons aide to Ukraine.
"He doesn't want us to bring it up," an official said. "It is not something he wants to talk about."
Despite the softer approach with the Russian president, Trump has recently taken a stricter stance toward Putin. Sources alleged the Russian president’s video stimulation that showed nuclear weapons attacking the United States “really got under the U.S. president’s skin.”
In fact, Trump felt so threatened by the video, he reportedly called the leaders of France, Germany and the U.K. in order to appeal for the four of them to stick together against the Russian president’s imminent threats.
The U.S. recently expelled 60 Russian diplomats as a show of support with the U.K. over the poisoning of a Russian double agent. Initially White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders condemned the attack while refusing to mention Russia even once. Russia retaliated by expelling U.S. diplomats but there was no condemnation from Trump.
Trump’s hot-again-cold-again behavior appears to stem from wanting to have a better relationship with Russia. Recently, the president tweeted defensive statements saying his call to Putin after he was re-elected as the Russian president “is a good thing, not a bad thing.”
I called President Putin of Russia to congratulate him on his election victory (in past, Obama called him also). The Fake News Media is crazed because they wanted me to excoriate him. They are wrong! Getting along with Russia (and others) is a good thing, not a bad thing.......— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 21, 2018
.....They can help solve problems with North Korea, Syria, Ukraine, ISIS, Iran and even the coming Arms Race. Bush tried to get along, but didn’t have the “smarts.” Obama and Clinton tried, but didn’t have the energy or chemistry (remember RESET). PEACE THROUGH STRENGTH!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 21, 2018
Critics claim the reason for Trump’s often soft demeanor with Russia stems from the alleged Russian meddling the 2016 presidential elections. The U.S. president has consistently denied these allegations but it has certainly become hard to keep up with Trump’s approach toward Russia.
"He digs in his heels. He thinks a better relationship with Russia is good for the U.S., and he really believes he can deliver it,” an official said.
Thumbnail/Banner: Reuters/ Carlos Barria