Earlier this year, when President Donald Trump ignored his advisers’ instructions and called his apparent pal and possible benefactor, Russian President Vladimir Putin, to congratulate him on his re-election victory, he also insulted his own administration in front of the foreign dictator.
According to The New York Times, when Putin mentioned how Trump’s advisors were trying to interfere and keep the two men from talking, the commander-in-chief attempt to assuage his qualms by saying “Those are stupid people, you shouldn’t listen to them.”
Those “stupid” people in question were the White House aides who had reportedly warned him “DO NOT CONGRATULATE” in briefing material before he went ahead and made the call anyway.
The revelation comes day after a separate report revealed the former reality TV star-turned-politician treats his Russian counterpart like a confidant and consults him on international policy, which is extremely alarming given that Special Counsel Robert Mueller is currently investigating the possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Kremlin operatives in order to sway the 2016 presidential election.
Moreover, during the same call, the two world leaders also reportedly commiserated over how American forces, such as “fake news” and the “deep state,” are working against them.
“It’s not us,” Putin told Trump, according to a White House official familiar with the matter. “It’s the subordinates fighting against our friendship.”
This “friendship” seems to have boggled many in the Trump administration.
“The president thinks he can be friends with Putin. I don't know why, or why he would want to be,” said former National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, according to anonymous officials cited by The Washington Post.
It is important to mention, during the call, Trump managed to avoid the topic of Russia’s alleged meddling in the U.S. presidential election and also declined to mention its likely involvement in the nerve agent attack against a former Russian spy turned double agent and his daughter, which occurred in Salisbury, United Kingdom.
“This administration seems to treat our allies as adversaries, and treat our adversaries, or potential adversaries, like their friends,” Virginia Sen. Mark Warner (D) recently told CNN. “[Trump] doesn't at least seem to reflect that what we share in common with our NATO allies is not only a common defense alliance, but we have a shared belief in rule of law. We have a shared belief in democracy. Mr. Putin represents none of those values. Yet you see out of the president, constant acclaim.”
Trump and Putin are set to host their first summit on July 16 in Helsinki, Finland.
Thumbnail/Banner Credits: Reuters, Carlos Barria