Even prior to winning the 2016 presidential elections and taking office, President Trump’s interactions with Russian President Vladimir Putin caught many by surprise, and raised concerns as to why the two seemed to have a friendly relationship with one another. Couple this with evidence of Russia’s interference in the elections and the ongoing collusion inquiry between Russian officials and the Trump campaign, and a faint pattern begins to emerge as to why the two seemed to get along so well. Last month, however, this fondness was thought to have disappeared, as the administration expelled 60 Russian diplomats following the poisoning of two Russians while on British soil.
Despite thinking that Trump may have had a change of heart about Putin and was beginning to take a new attitude towards him, recent reports are now claiming that the president not only had no intention of removing the Russian diplomats, but also pushed to ensure that the United States expels as few of them as possible. Aides explained that they had to oust a number of Russian diplomats and suspected spies, which Trump reluctantly agreed to, but instructing that they would only match the same number as the Europeans. Trump, apparently, made it clear that he did not want the United States to take the lead on the expulsions.
SCOOP: Trump erupted at staffers after the US announced the expulsion of 60 Russian officials. He said they misled him about the size of the purge. The moment follows a pattern of his staff pushing tough Russia policies on him that he later fumes over https://t.co/41GNgqR4Iu
— John Hudson (@John_Hudson) April 16, 2018
According to an article by the Washington Post:
‘The next day, when the expulsions were announced publicly, Trump erupted, officials said. To his shock and dismay, France and Germany were each expelling only four Russian officials – far fewer than the 60 his administration had decided on.
The president, who seemed to believe that other individual countries would largely equal the United States, was furious that his administration was being portrayed in the media as taking by far the toughest stance on Russia.’
Whereas his predecessors would have been pushing for a more stringent reaction to the Kremlin’s poisoning of Russians outside of their own borders, Trump clearly felt differently. After briefers tried to explain to Trump that the sum totals of expulsions by the Europeans would equate to the same number as the US, he reportedly threw a fit, screaming that he did not care about the total. Trump was convinced that his aides had misled and manipulated him into expelling more Russian diplomats than the Europeans, which led to a flurry of curses being directed at them.
NEW: Trump reportedly raged at staffers when the expulsion of 60 Russian diplomats was announced. He was so furious about the # of diplomats & about the U.S. being portrayed as taking a tough stance on Russia that he screamed expletives at WH officials. https://t.co/3VZMYexrWW
— Caroline O. (@RVAwonk) April 16, 2018
Following the expulsion, Trump seemingly attempted to get back into Putin’s good graces, as he made the decision to quietly allow 60 Russian diplomats to return, although the individuals in that group had to be different from the ones initially expelled.
I wonder if the original expulsion allowed the replacement of the expelled officials, or if that was added only after Trump's freakout?
— Henry Bear (@_Henry_Bear) April 16, 2018
The president’s reported reaction to taking a hard stance on Russia, and the fit he threw against people within his own administration, sheds light on an ongoing desire to be friendly with the Russian regime, despite making futile attempts to prove that he is tough on the Kremlin.
Why is @realDonaldTrump so angry about the expulsion of 60 Russian Diplomats? He knows Putin is going to be pissed, and THATS where his loyalties lie.
— CarrieContrary (@csedgman) April 16, 2018
Although Trump attempts to justify his friendliness with Putin as a means towards diplomacy, the president’s aforementioned reaction cannot be written off as political strategy, but should instead stir suspicion as to why he was so furious.
Featured Image by Getty Images