Trump says 'Russia is very unhappy' he won in 2016, but he still gets along 'great' with Putin
Trump was speaking at a 'Make America Great Again' rally in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, to support Rep. Lou Barletta in his race for Senate, when he dived into one of his most recurrent topics – the contentious Helsinki meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin and how unfairly it was treated by the media. In the wake of the summit, labeled "disastrous" by the mainstream media, Trump was accused of cozying up to Putin while defying his own intelligence community.
"In Helsinki, I had a great meeting with Putin, we discussed everything," Trump said at the rally, to a round of applause from the cheering crowd.
"We got along really well. By the way, that's a good thing, not a bad thing, that's really good," he added, before blaming the lingering Russiagate probe for standing in the way of further progress.
"Now, we are being hindered by the Russian hoax, it's a hoax," he said.
In the days immediately following the Helsinki summit, Trump famously corrected himself, claiming he misspoke when he'd said he didn't see any reason why it "would" be Russia which meddled in the elections. Instead, he said he meant to say "wouldn't." Meddle or not, though, Russia isn't thrilled by how it all turned out, the US President told the rally.
"I'll tell you what, Russia is very unhappy that Trump won, that I can tell you. But I got along great with Putin," Trump said. That was exactly what was wrong with the Helsinki summit, according to establishment media and politicians.
"They wanted to see a boxing match… I said whatever happened to diplomacy?" he said. Trump has admitted he had little chance of pleasing the media, whatever tone he chose with Putin.
"And let me tell you: If I did go up and start screaming they would have said: 'he was terrible', 'he was so rude', 'it was horrible', 'his performance was horrible,'" Trump said, arguing that in deed, not word, he was much harder on Russia than any of his predecessors.
"I was the one that let out 60 diplomats, I was the one that complained about the fact that Germany has been paying [Russia] billions of dollars for a ridiculous pipeline coming to Germany," he said, referring to Nord Stream 2, which would supply Germany with Russian gas through a pipeline running under the Baltic Sea.
At a NATO summit in July, Trump took aim at the project alleging it is making Germany "a captive of Russia."
It's not the first time Trump attempts to persuade American voters that Russia perceives him not as its asset in the White House, as claimed by the Russiagaters, but rather as a threat.
I’m very concerned that Russia will be fighting very hard to have an impact on the upcoming Election. Based on the fact that no President has been tougher on Russia than me, they will be pushing very hard for the Democrats. They definitely don’t want Trump!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 24, 2018
Last Tuesday Trump tweeted that, since "no President has been tougher on Russia than me," Moscow "will be pushing very hard for the Democrats" in the upcoming midterm elections.