Donald Trump thanked Vladimir Putin on Thursday for kicking 755 U.S. diplomats out of Russia, leaving foreign policy experts and the world in disbelieve.
Instead of standing up for the men and women who selflessly serve their country, the president – once again – took the side of the man who helped put him in the White House, thanking the Russian president for cutting the U.S. government’s payroll.
After being asked if he has a response to Putin’s decision to boot the diplomats from Russia, Trump went off on a bizarre and stunning ramble:
No, I want to thank him because we’re trying to cut down on payroll and as far as I’m concerned, I’m very thankful that he let go of a large number of people because now we have a smaller payroll. There’s no real treason for them to go back, so I greatly appreciate the fact that they’ve been able to cut our payroll for the United States. We’ll save a lot of money.
Of course, as the president was embarrassing himself and the country on the world stage, those who have some understanding of U.S. foreign policy couldn’t believe their ears.
The ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Congressman Eliot Engel, blasted the president and urged him to apologize for disrespecting “the men and women who sacrifice and serve our country.”
“No doubt, the President’s staff will eventually try to clean up after the parade by claiming it was a joke, but there’s nothing funny about this,” the Democrat added in a statement.
Former U.S. diplomat Nicholas Burns also weighed in on Twitter, calling the president’s remarks “shameful.”
A shameful statement by Pres. Trump. He justifies mistreatment of US diplomats by Putin. If he was joking, it shows his true character https://t.co/BH9ru1m46R
— Nicholas Burns (@RNicholasBurns) August 10, 2017
Trump’s disturbing and ignorant remarks on Thursday demonstrate not just that the president has no appreciation for U.S. diplomats – he is proposing to cut the State Department budget by 29 percent, after all – but also that he will do or say anything to excuse Vladimir Putin’s behavior.
Is there anything Vladimir Putin could do that would draw a negative response from Donald Trump?