Russian officials are elated over Defense Secretary Jim Mattis' Thursday resignation, with some high-ranking Kremlin operatives and state television personalities calling it a "positive signal for Russia."
Julia Davis reported in The Daily Beast on Friday that Konstantin Kosachev, head of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the Upper House of the Russian Parliament, said that “the departure of James Mattis is a positive signal for Russia, since Mattis was far more hawkish on Russia and China than Donald Trump.”
Kosachev interpreted Mattis' departure - largely believed to have been motivated by President Donald Trump's decision to remove American troops from Syria - as Trump working to appease autocrats like Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Kosachev said Trump's desire to maintain his relationship with Russia was "more important than keeping James Mattis at his post," calling it "an interesting signal, and a more positive one” for Russia.
Olga Skabeeva, the host of Russian state TV's 60 Minutes, was giddy over Mattis' break from Trump.
"Secretary of Defense Mattis didn’t want to leave Syria, so Trump fired him," Skabeeva gloated. "They are leaving Syria.”
American are “losers," Skabeeva said, "since Putin has defeated them in every way." Skabeeva's co-host, Evgeny Popov, beamed: “Trump is ours again—what are you going to do?”
To thunderous applause from his studio audience, Popov noted Trump's habitual capitulation to Russian interests.
“It seems to Americans that we won on every front: the U.S. Secretary of Defense has been removed, we unquestionably secured a complete, unconditional victory in Syria," Popov said.
Skabeeva interjected: “They’re also planning to leave Afghanistan.”
Popov agreed, adding: “On top of that, Rusal sanctions have been lifted with Trump’s hands."
Skabeeva then stated what has become ominously apparent.
“Americans say, it’s because he is beholden to Putin," Skabeeva said. "Is that logical? Yes, it is.”
Twitter's response: yeah, no kidding, "they can have him." Ouch.
@NoahShachtman @robertloerzel When was he ever not— sElfLoaThInGCaucasus (@sElfLoaThInGCaucasus)1545427030.0
@NoahShachtman @PostimusMaximus When was he not?— doug (@doug)1545427271.0
@NoahShachtman @TheRickWilson He's always been yours, Vlad!— Smocking Tariff Man (@Smocking Tariff Man)1545427206.0
@JuliaDavisNews @thedailybeast So this tweet was prescient in both substance and season. https://t.co/DdfoyJxXZ7— Argle-Bargler (@Argle-Bargler)1545421570.0
@JuliaDavisNews @thedailybeast THEY CAN HAVE HIM!!!!!— Julia Gulia (@Julia Gulia)1545415479.0
@JuliaDavisNews @thedailybeast I'll just leave this here. #Drumpf is paying rent by selling America. https://t.co/IZq9bChJw9— RC deWinter (@RC deWinter)1545416582.0
@JuliaDavisNews @thedailybeast @Dotard is so dangerous for America. Lifted sanctions & now pulling out of Syria. He… https://t.co/8euijeBM67— 💥Pam💥 🌺💦🌊🗽 (@💥Pam💥 🌺💦🌊🗽)1545415616.0
@thedailybeast Please keep him Russia.. He's a criminal fraud due to spend his twilight years in prison. And, takin… https://t.co/mqfmL6wkBy— Chris Morris 🇺🇸⚖🍑 (@Chris Morris 🇺🇸⚖🍑)1545424935.0
This certainly shatters the spin by White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who tried to downplay Russia's joy over Mattis' quitting and the drawdown of troops in Syria.
“The idea that Putin is happy about this [Trump's decision to withdraw US forces from Syria] is ridiculous," Sanders said Friday. "It puts them at a greater risk, so I think that's just silly.”
Really, Sarah? At least pick something a little less obvious to lie about.
@markknoller @PressSec why do you guys even bother with her. She's a verifiable liar and will continue to lie. Amer… https://t.co/JGNEJr9K6L— Daniel Nicolae Dubei (@Daniel Nicolae Dubei)1545403797.0
No one is buying it.
@markknoller @PressSec Putin specifically said he was happy.— Hiprodorus (@Hiprodorus)1545400240.0
@markknoller @PressSec “It’s also not currently raining.” She added.— Travis F (@Travis F)1545400560.0
@markknoller @PressSec "Raining? Umbrella? The idea its raining and I have an umbrella is just ridiculous. Don't be silly"— Bill (@Bill)1545400712.0
@markknoller @PressSec HE SAID OUT LOUD ON CAMERA THAT HE IS VERY HAPPY ABOUT IT.— Annoyed Norwegian #TIR #FBIR (@Annoyed Norwegian #TIR #FBIR)1545410582.0
@markknoller @PressSec So Putin is lying? I'm shocked, I tell you, shocked! https://t.co/zr4QHioLRC— Joe Mandese (@Joe Mandese)1545400437.0
During his annual news conference, Putin lauded Trump's proposed troop pullout from Syria.
"If the decision to withdraw was made, then it is a correct one," the Russian president said. "As far as the withdrawal of US troops is concerned, I really don't understand what it's about, because the US has been present for some 17 years in Afghanistan," he said. "They're (the US) still talking about withdrawing them, but they haven't done it yet."