Despite recent tensions between the United States and Russia, there is still some concern that the president is too friendly with Russia. During the campaign, he frequently praised Russia and its authoritarian leader, Vladimir Putin. Russia’s interference in the 2016 election did little to help to repair Trump’s reputation when it came to Russia. Beyond that, there was the infamous incident where he allegedly gave classified intel to a Russian diplomat. He later defended his actions by arguing that he has the power to declassify information at will. While he is correct, it was still a poor decision and upset many U.S. allies who do not want their intelligence to be shared with the Russians.
If Trump wants to deflect criticisms that he’s too close to Russia, today’s meeting isn’t likely to help. Reuters has reported that Trump met with Russian diplomat Anatoly Antonov.
‘I was received by President Trump, I presented my credentials. For my part I said that we are looking forward to an improvement in the relations between our two countries.’
The newly installed Russian diplomat also described the meeting as “warm.”
‘President Trump received me in a warm and friendly way … The atmosphere was very genial, constructive and welcoming. At least, that was my personal feeling.
‘I said that I look forward to working with the U.S government in the area of Russian-American mutual interests. And I said that, as far as Russia is concerned, we are ready to do that, we’re ready to take concrete steps.’
By itself, Trump meeting with a foreign diplomat isn’t that odd. However, the odd thing about this meeting is that it is not on the president’s schedule for the day.
It’s unclear why Trump didn’t put the meeting on the schedule. After all, it isn’t as if they took great pains to hide it from the media, so the meetings absence is rather odd. Aside from Antonov’s comments regarding the meeting, we do not know what took place or what kind of conversation the two had, though apparently ISIS was one of the topics that was discussed. Beyond that, we’ll have to wait to hear more.
Featured image via Getty Images.