Trump Jokes About Russian Interference With Putin At G20
President Donald Trump made a joke about Russian interference in the 2016 elections in a meeting with President Vladimir Putin on Friday during the G20 summit.
“Don’t meddle in the elections,” said Trump jokingly to Putin, in their first meeting since the Mueller Report confirmed Russia carried out a “sweeping and systematic” operation to influence the 2016 presidential elections in Trump’s favor. The president’s comments on whether or not he would warn Russia about meddling in the next presidential elections were followed by a grin by Putin.
The friendly and flippant comments exchanged by Trump and Putin come a day after the Russian president said the liberal views of western democracy are becoming “obsolete” and commended the president for his nationalist ideals.
The president’s dismissive comments on Russian interference mirrored a moment from last year in Helsinki where Trump refused to side with U.S. special intelligence findings on Russian interference, failing to condemn Putin and adding to the president’s reputation of not doing enough to critique the Russian president in general.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer responded to the president’s joke on Twitter. “Trump is basically giving Putin a green light to interfere in 2020.” He said the president was “joking with Putin about interfering in our elections, but the joke is on us and Putin’s the only one laughing.”
Trump was asked over the weekend by reporters if he really meant the offhand comment he made to the Russian president. “You have to take a look at the words. I did say it,” said Trump. “I did discuss it a little bit after that, too.”