Trump praises Putin for expelling US diplomats, gets panned... by diplomat
“I'm very thankful that he let go of a large number of people because now we have a smaller payroll,” the president joked on Thursday.
“There’s no real reason for them to go back,” Trump continued. “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.”
The joke has not gone down well in some quarters, though, with former diplomats in particular failing to see the funny side and strongly condemning the remarks.
Former US Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul took distinct umbrage at the gag, unleashing a scathing barrage of tweets.
Punk Putin?! Cmon man ! I know Putin. He is not punked by these silly comments. Putin will see Trumps comments as another sign of weakness https://t.co/eO4XKWc8sw— Michael McFaul (@McFaul) August 11, 2017
Imagine dissing Americans --patriots serving our country under difficult conditions in Russia -to praise Putin. Our president did today. https://t.co/KovoLuMISa— Michael McFaul (@McFaul) August 10, 2017
“But if Trump admires Putin, why doesn’t he act like him? Putin didn’t roll over when we kicked out 35 of his, but Trump did in response to 755," McFaul, who served on President Obama's National Security Council, said.
Former NATO Ambassador Nicholas Burns labelled Trump remarks “disrespectful” while former Middle Eastern analyst for the US government Aaron Miller said they were “shameful”.
As a Foreign Service veteran, I find it lamentable that our great career diplomats are treated with such disrespect by their President— Nicholas Burns (@RNicholasBurns) August 10, 2017
Having served at State for 25 yrs under R/Ds, Trump's defense of Putin over expelled US diplomats one of most shameful of his presidency— Aaron David Miller (@aarondmiller2) August 10, 2017
As the daughter of a foreign service officer, and a former appointee at State, I concur fully. The most shameful amongst a long list. https://t.co/WexP0kpaHT— Tamara Cofman Wittes (@tcwittes) August 11, 2017
The outrage wasn’t just confined to diplomats – chess grandmaster Gary Kasparov and actor John Cusack were also among those who felt moved to express their indignation.
Incredible. If Russia sank an American Navy ship, Trump would thank Putin for saving the US money on payroll and ship maintenance. https://t.co/DhvSH1opJk— Garry Kasparov (@Kasparov63) August 10, 2017
Trump thanks putin for expelling diplomats from embassy's - that's a real headline- 25 th— John Cusack (@johncusack) August 11, 2017
Meanwhile, others just couldn’t help but see the funny side of the whole furore.
Trump just thanked Putin for payroll cuts after diplomat expulsion...— Hannah Cranston (@HannahCranston) August 11, 2017
Pee tapes are def real.