United States President Donald Trump on Thursday defended his phone call to Russian President Vladimir Putin, and said that getting along with Russia is a good thing, and not a bad thing.
“I called President Putin of Russia to congratulate him on his election victory (in past, Obama called him also). The Fake News Media is crazed because they wanted me to excoriate him. They are wrong! Getting along with Russia (and others) is a good thing, not a bad thing,” the United States President wrote on Twitter.
Trump also said that in the past 42nd US President Bill Clinton, 43rd US President George W. Bush, and 44th US President Barack Obama tried to get along with Russia, but lacked the “chemistry”, “smarts”, and “energy”.
“They can help solve problems with North Korea, Syria, Ukraine, ISIS, Iran and even the coming Arms Race. Bush tried to get along, but didn’t have the “smarts.” Obama and Clinton tried, but didn’t have the energy or chemistry (remember RESET). PEACE THROUGH STRENGTH!,” he wrote.
The Washington Post had earlier said that Donald Trump reportedly defied a warning from his security team when he called Putin, to congratulate him on his landslide victory in Sunday’s elections.
Trump’s national security advisers had presented him with written briefing materials in capitals saying “DO NOT CONGRATULATE,” it said citing officials.
And it was not clear if President Trump, who prefers to hear briefings, read the notes, according to sources.
Local media had also reported that Trump and Putin will also talk about North Korea, Ukraine and Syria, among “various other things”.
However, in his conversation with Putin, Trump did not raise Russia’s election interference or its suspected involvement in the poisoning of a former spy on British soil, according to White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
The former US presidential candidate John McCain was quick to criticise Trump for his failure to raise allegations of widespread voter irregularities.
“An American president does not lead the Free World by congratulating dictators on winning sham elections. And by doing so with Vladimir Putin, President Trump insulted every Russian citizen who was denied the right to vote in a free and fair election to determine their country’s future, including the countless Russian patriots who have risked so much to protest and resist Putin’s regime,” The Guardian quoted McCain as saying.
The phone call also came just days after the United States imposed sanctions against 19 Russian nationals and five entities over Russian interference in the US elections.