President Donald Trump used criticism surrounding his recent meeting with Russia’s leader to once again criticize his predecessor’s policies.
In an interview this week with CNBC‘s “Squawk Box” co-host Joe Kernen, Trump addressed bipartisan concern that his rebuke of Russian interference in American elections was too timid.
The president once again made the claim that he has been “far tougher on Russia” than any modern president.
While he defended his goal of “getting along” with Russian President Vladimir Putin, he said that his strategy could change if negotiations do not “work out” as he hopes.
“I’ll be his worst nightmare, but I don’t think it will be that way,” he said. “I actually think we’ll have a good relationship.”
In the same interview, Trump shifted his focus to former President Barack Obama by favorably comparing his own response to Russian aggression.
“Obama didn’t do it,” he said of his administration’s efforts. “Obama was a patsy for Russia. A total patsy.”
In making the case that he has been tough on Russia, Trump went on to tout several comments he has made on the topic. He also mentioned actions imposed by the White House on the strength of bipartisan pressure from Congress.
“Look at all the things I’ve done,” he said.
Among his specific examples was the implementation of additional sanctions on Russia.
Trump blasts Obama for being "a patsy for Russia," but then in very next breath claims "getting along with President Putin, getting along with Russia is a positive, not a negative." 🤔 pic.twitter.com/j7oT16Wkl9
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) July 20, 2018
The Obama administration similarly impacted Russia’s economy with its move after Putin’s army invaded Crimea in 2014. The same year, the U.S. and other member nations of the political forum then known as the G-8 decided to expel Russia, forming what is now called the G-7.
“Look at the diplomats I threw out,” Trump said, referring to a move earlier this year in response to reports that Russian agents carried out a public poisoning in the United Kingdom.
Though he portrayed the act as a sign of strength against Russia in his recent CNBC interview, sources cited a story by The Washington Post that indicated that the president became irate when he first heard details of the expulsions.
Specifically, he reportedly felt the U.S. — which kicked a total of 60 Russian diplomats out of the country in March — responded disproportionately to specific nations in the European Union.
During his comments this week, Trump repeated his frequent argument that “(g)etting along with President Putin, getting along with Russia, is positive, not a negative.”
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