President Donald Trump praised Russian President Vladimir Putin for his illegal 2014 seizure of Crimea, a peninsula on the coast of Ukraine, at the 2019 G7 summit in France. Trump made the assertion that somehow former President Barack Obama was to blame.
Russia was booted from the G8—now the G7—as a result of Putin’s illegal annexation, but now Trump, breaking with the other world leaders, wants to bring Putin back to the table.
Speaking to reporters, Trump said of Putin:
“Would I invite him? I would certainly invite him. Whether or not he could come psychologically, I think that’s a tough thing for him to do.”
He blamed Obama for Putin’s seizure of the peninsula.
“President Obama was not happy that this happened and it was embarrassing to him, right? It was very embarrassing to him, and he wanted Russia to be out of what was called the G-8. That was his determination. He was outsmarted by Putin. President Putin outsmarted President Obama. I can understand how President Obama would feel, he wasn’t happy.”
The remarks came after PBS White House Correspondent Yamiche Alcindor asked Trump to elaborate on why he supports Russia retaking its seat at the table after meddling in the U.S. election.
Asked to explain why he supports readmitting Russia to the G8, Trump quickly pivots to attacking Obama. He then says “a certain section of Ukraine … was sort of taken away from President Obama.” He doesn’t have a single negative thing to say about Russia’s illegal invasion. pic.twitter.com/wSwLDzXKv6
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) August 26, 2019
He continued to blame Obama for the illegal annexation of Crimea, insisting that Obama could have prevented the seizure with “the right whatever.”
Asked why he keeps repeating Kremlin talking points about the illegal invasion of Ukraine, Trump says, “I know you like President Obama but it was annexed during President Obama’s term … it could’ve been stopped with the right — whatever.” pic.twitter.com/Rgg5vxI3WU
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) August 26, 2019
Trump claims that other world leaders agree with him on readmitting Russia to the G7, but it’s unclear to whom he’s referring. French President Emmanuel Macron clarified that Trump could invite Putin to next year’s G7 summit, but Russia actually joining the group of leaders would require unanimous agreement.
Trump had a “lively” discussion with other world leaders about inviting Putin to next year’s summit.
Question: "Mr. President, do you think you will invite Putin to next year's #G7, sir?"
President Trump: "That I don't know. We did discuss it. We had a very good discussion on Russia and Pres. Putin. Lively discussion, but really a good one."
PM Boris Johnson: "It was lively." pic.twitter.com/eOw63pbE06
— The Hill (@thehill) August 25, 2019
It created lively discussion for Americans at home as well, who are taking the calls for Russia to rejoin as another instance of Trump’s subservience to Putin and hatred for Obama.
In Helsinki, President Trump sided with Vladimir Putin over our intelligence services. Today, he sided with Putin over President Obama. This isn't complicated: We need a president who sides with America over Russia. https://t.co/Vfs5Y3n4iA
— Beto O'Rourke (@BetoORourke) August 26, 2019
Obama, a patriot: You illegally annexed Crimea? I'm going to sanction the hell out of you and kick your ass out of the G8.
Trump, an idiot: Obama could've stopped the Russian annexation of Crimea with the right "whatever"
— Adam (@aalali44) August 26, 2019
Consider that Trump, in front of the entire world, just tried to humiliate a former US president on behalf of a Russian dictator hostile to our country. What a disgusting betrayal.
“President Putin outsmarted President Obama,” Trump says, calling it “very embarrassing” for Obama https://t.co/0dfRJg5Yj6
— Mark Follman (@markfollman) August 26, 2019
Trump is obsessed with Obama. It’s way beyond sick. Putin is the loving daddy Trump never had. https://t.co/NoJ775PPs1
— Pam (@OldBatPam) August 27, 2019
Another striking reason for world leaders’ refusal to readmit Putin, cited by Macron, is because of his efforts to interfere with the United States’ democracy during the 2016 election, indicating to many that other world leaders care more about attacks on American democracy than the American president.
Macron: Trump can invite Putin to G7 as a "guest" but "decision to *join* must be unanimous."
Says it was discussed, and because of US election interference and Crimea, Russia "can't be invited back into the G8."
The rest of the G7 cares more about attack on us than Trump. pic.twitter.com/M9acn6efDu
— Tommy X-TrumpIsARacist-opher (@tommyxtopher) August 26, 2019
The G7 concluded yesterday.