In July, Russia President Vladimir Putin threatened to expel more than 700 U.S. diplomats from the Russian territory in response to new sanctions imposed on his country by the U.S. Congress.
The Trump Admin’s Initial Response
At the time, Putin noted that Russia had held out hope that its relationship with the U.S. would at some point change for the better. However, after the new sanctions, the Russian leader no longer thinks the positive changes would happen soon.
Initially, the White House’s reaction to Russia’s move was complete silence. The State Department eventually issued an official response deeming the expulsion “regrettable and uncalled-for.” The agency added that they were assessing the impact of such move and promised to come with an appropriate response.
Trump, on the other hand, thinks that his administration’s response was not enough. In an interview Thursday, he took things one step further and thanked Putin for his help in removing the U.S diplomats from the payroll.
Trump ‘Very Thankful’ to Putin
Trump made the remarks from his New Jersey golf club in Bedminster. He told reporters that he is “very thankful” to Putin because the U.S. is already trying to trim its payroll.
I’m very thankful that [Putin] let go of a large number of people because now we have a smaller payroll,
He added that there is no reason for those U.S. government employees to go back since the U.S. is going to “save a lot of money.”
You can watch Trump saying it here:
Q: Thoughts on Putin expelling US diplomats?
Trump: “I greatly appreciate the fact that they’ve been able to cut our payroll.” (via ABC) pic.twitter.com/iR5JbHLHZj
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) August 10, 2017
The 755 members of the U.S. diplomatic staff in Russia will have to leave the country by September 1st. The Kremlin expelled them in response to new congressional sanctions on Russia, this time for the alleged interference in the November election. Guess someone forgot to tell Trump just because they are expelled from Russia doesn’t mean they lost their jobs.
Moscow explained that the number 755 is not random, as, with those diplomats gone, Russia would have the same number of U.S. diplomats as the number of Russian diplomats stationed in America.
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