While U.S. President Donald Trump expressed his distrust of his own intelligence agencies during his recent meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, that fact was not the main takeaway of the summit.
When Trump was asked by a reporter whether he blamed Russia for “anything in particular,” he responded that both countries had made mistakes but he did not mention any specific actions. However, Trump did blame previous U.S. administrations for damaging relations with Moscow. Trump then remarked that this summit would mark a new “era of cooperation” between the two countries. Yet again, this comment was accompanied by Trump’s usual lack of specificity, as he did not mention how the two countries would start cooperating.
Trump was then given the opportunity to address and publicly denounce the current criminal investigation into possible collusion with Russia. However, Trump chose instead to go after his own intelligence agencies, stating that they should currently investigate the U.S. Democratic Party. Trump also praised Putin’s defense and denial of the collusion accusations, stating that his statements were “extremely strong and powerful.”
The U.S. president seems to be unwilling to hold Russia accountable for anything.
Trump was also expected to address Russia’s recent occupation of Crimea during the post-summit press conference, yet President Putin took the opportunity to report on their talks. According to Putin, Trump stated that he was opposed to Russia’s actions.
Trump’s lack of a direct opinion on Crimea was let down for many world leaders, as NATO allies had been encouraging the president to address the subject decisively. Many NATO allies feared that Trump might support the occupation.
Overall, the summit demonstrated a completely different approach to foreign policy than Trump has used with any other countries. Trump has gained notoriety during the last years for constantly calling out institutions, leaders, and politicians. The fact that he chose not to criticize Russia during an intimate meeting goes to show just how much Trump is prioritizing convenience.
Many leaders have mentioned that the U.S.’ European allies can no longer rely on the Trump administration. Now that Trump has returned from Russia, he will hopefully be held accountable for his actions.
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