Skip to main content

USA - Golf club diplomacy: Trump thanks Putin for expelling US diplomats

Donald Trump has thanked Vladimir Putin for expelling 755 American diplomatic staff from Russia, claiming that it will save the US “a lot of money”.
The US president on Thursday held a characteristically free-wheeling, subject-hopping, occasionally stunning question and answer session over 20 minutes with pool reporters at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey.
When Putin announced last month that the American diplomatic mission inRussia must cut its staff by 755 employees, an ill-tempered response to new US sanctions, the gesture was seen as putting relations at their lowest ebb since the cold war.
But Trump, widely criticised for his warm relationship with Putin, said on Thursday: “I want to thank him because we’re trying to cut down our payroll and as far as I’m concerned, I’m very thankful that he let go of a large number of people because now we have a smaller payroll.
“There’s no real reason for them to go back. I greatly appreciate the fact that we’ve been able to cut our payroll of the United States. We’re going to save a lot of money.”
The claim was just one of many surprise insights into the thinking of Trump, who was flanked by Vice-President Mike Pence and the national security adviser, HR McMaster. Here are subject-by-subject highlights of the session, which the New York Times columnist Frank Bruni described as a “melodious aria” of self-praise:
On North Korea
“He does something in Guam, it will be an event the likes of which nobody’s seen before, what will happen in North Korea.”
Asked if that was a dare, Trump bristled: “It’s not a dare. It’s a statement. It has nothing to do with dare. That’s a statement. He’s not going to go around threatening Guam and he’s not going to threaten the United States and he’s not going to threaten Japan and he’s not going to threaten South Korea. No, that’s not a dare, as you say. That is a statement of fact.”
How the threat of nuclear weapons compares with climate change
“Nuclear to me, number one, I would like to ‘de-nuke’ the world. I know that President Obama said global warming is the biggest threat. I totally disagree... I’d like to de-nuke the world. I would like Russia, the United States and China and Pakistan and many other countries that have nuclear weapons get rid of them. But until such time that they do, we will be the most powerful nuclear nation on earth, by far.”
Why he announced a ban on transgender personnel in the military
“I have great respect for the community … I think I’ve had great support, or I’ve had great support from that community. I got a lot of votes. But the transgender, the military’s working on it now … It’s been a very difficult situation and I think I’m doing a lot of people a favour by coming out and just saying it. As you know, it’s been a very complicated issue for the military, it’s been a very confusing issue for the military, and I think I’m doing the military a great favour.”
Investigations into leaks from the White House
“We’re looking. We’re always looking. We have two leaks. You have the leaks coming out of intelligence and various departments having to do with Syria, having to do with all sorts of different places, having to do, frankly, with North Korea. And those are very serious. And then you have the leaks where people want to love me and they’re all fighting for love. Those are not very important but certainly we don’t like them. Those are little inner-White House leaks. They’re not very important. But actually I’m somewhat honored by them. But the important leaks and the leaks that the attorney general is looking at very strongly are the leaks coming out of intelligence and we have to stop them for the security and the national security of our country.”
Whether he will dismiss special counsel Robert Mueller
“I haven’t given it any thought. Well, I’ve been reading about it from you people. You say, ‘Oh, I’m going to dismiss him.’ No, I’m not dismissing anybody. I mean, I want them to get on with the task. But I also want the Senate and the House to come out with their findings. Now, judging from the people leaving the meetings, they leave the meetings all the time and they say we haven’t found anything … ”
Mueller’s investigation into Russia’s interference in the presidential election
“We’re working with him. We have a situation that’s very unusual. There was no collusion between us and Russia. In fact, the opposite. Russia spent a lot of money on fighting me ... Additionally, it seems that Russia spent a lot of money on that false report, and that was Russian money, and I think it was Democrat money too. You could say that was collusion. Plus the Democrats colluded on the Ukraine, so they colluded.
“... So, we have an investigation of something that never took place. And all I say is work with them, because this is an event that never took place. Now, as far as somebody else, where did they file the right papers, or did they forget to file a paper. You know, like I guarantee that if we went around and looked at everybody who made a speech or whatever these people did, that’s up to them.
“Did they do something wrong because they didn’t file the right document or whatever? Perhaps, you’d have to look at them, but I guarantee you this, there are probably a lot of people in Washington who did the same thing.”
FBI raid of former campaign manager Paul Manafort’s home
“I thought it was a very, very strong signal, or whatever. I know Mr Manafort. Haven’t spoken to him in a long time, but I know him. He was with the campaign for a relatively short period of time. I thought it was a very – you know, they do that very seldom, so I was surprised to see it. I was very, very surprised to see it.”
Asked if he had talked to the attorney general or FBI about the raid, Trump replied: “No, I have not, but to do that early in the morning, whether or not it was appropriate, you’d have to ask them. I’ve always found Paul Manafort to be a very decent man. He’s like a lot of other people, probably makes consultant fees from all over the place, who knows, I don’t know, but I thought it was pretty tough stuff to wake him up, perhaps his family was there. I think that’s pretty tough stuff.”
Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell and his wife, transportation secretary Elaine Chao
“Elaine is doing a very good job. We’re very proud of Elaine as secretary of transportation, as you know. She’s doing a very good job. I’m very disappointed in Mitch. If he gets these bills passed, I’ll be very happy with him and I’ll be the first to admit it.”
Measuring his own success
“I actually said to Tim Cook of Apple, I said, ‘You know Tim, I won’t consider myself successful as president unless I see you start building those big, beautiful plants that you have all over China, you start building them in the United States.’ And he’s gonna do that.”
Source: The Guardian (UK)
Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Floyd Mayweather teases potential UFC bout by stepping inside the octagon as Conor McGregor responds with 'f*** the Mayweathers'

Floyd Mayweather has teased a the idea of himself fighting in the UFC in recent months and the boxing icon went one step further on Tuesday, posting a video of himself stepping into a mixed martial arts cage. With no caption accompanying the clip, The Money Team leader can be seen entering an octagon before pacing up and down as if he were about to engage in an actual MMA bout.  And Conor McGregor, the man who entered the boxing ring to fight Mayweather in a money-spinning Las Vegas showdown in August last year, was quick to notice. He wrote on Twitter: 'Hahahaha very good. Keep up the good work my son. Yours sincerely, Senior.'  The Irishman followed up his response with a picture of himself and his son with the caption *f*** the Mayweathers'. Mayweather set fans' pulses racing last month when he claimed he had been approached by the UFC about a potential MMA fight.  'They just called me not too long ago and asked me to come back,' he said. 'I can come righ…

Chelsea complete £17.5million deal for defender Emerson Palmieri from Roma

Roma defender Emerson Palmieri has completed his £17.5million move to Chelsea. Palmieri posed for pictures with the shirt on Tuesday evening after completing his medical and penning a four-and-a-half year contract. The Brazilian, who has been assigned the No 33 shirt at Chelsea, left his home in Rome to fly to London earlier in the day.  The 23-year-old left-back underwent several medical tests before putting pen to paper to move to Stamford Bridge. 'I came here because it’s a great team with a great history,' Emerson said. 'Today I am realising one of my dreams to pull on the shirt of such a great club. ‘English football is something I have been watching since I was 15 years old. It is a really beautiful game over here but it is going to be even more beautiful to play it.’ Chelsea have agreed to pay a further £5.2m in bonuses for Palmieri, who is likely to be eligible to face Watford next Monday. The Brazilian had been lined up as part of a double swoop with Edin Dzeko, but Che…

Anthony Joshua working hard in the gym as he steps up preparations for Joseph Parker showdown

With just over two months to go until his return to the ring, Anthony Joshua is shaping up nicely after putting in the hard yards at the gym. The world heavyweight champion faces Joseph Parker at Cardiff's Principality Stadium on March 31, where he beat Carlos Takam in October. And trainer Jamie Reynolds has shared footage of the 28-year-old stepping up his preparations with various workouts in the gym. With the clock ticking ahead of the fight, Parker has outlined how he feels he can better his opponent. 'I want to fight a fight that's going to be a fast-paced fight… movement, speed and just different angles – I think that's how we are going to attack Joshua,' Parker told Radio Live. 'He's [Joshua] dominated fighters that stand in front of him, that don't move – all they do is protect themselves,' Parker said about Joshua. When it comes to finding a sparring partner, Parker is looking for a similar fighting style to his 6ft 5in, 240-pound opponent Joshua…