One-on-one meeting Putin-Trump a ‘good start,
One-on-one meeting with Putin a ‘good start,’ Trump says after over 2 hours of tete-a-tete talks
16 Jul, 2018
President Donald Trump participates in an expanded bilateral meeting with Russia's President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Finland © Kevin Lamarque / Reuters
President Donald Trump described his much anticipated meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin as “off to a good start,” after meeting one-on-one with Putin for over two hours on Monday.
Trump made his remarks to reporters before the start of a ‘working lunch’ with Putin and his aides, which followed the two leader’s private session.
Before meeting with Putin, Trump said that the US and Russia will end up having an “extraordinary relationship,” despite current difficulties, adding “I think the world wants to see us get along.” Before his private discussion with Putin, Trump told reporters that he intended to discuss “everything from trade to military to missiles to nuclear to China.”
Before the summit, Trump blamed previous administrations for the deterioration in relations between the US and Russia, tweeting: “Our relationship with Russia has NEVER been worse thanks to many years of U.S. foolishness and stupidity and now, the Rigged Witch Hunt!” - a reference to the ongoing and thus far unsuccessful Mueller investigation.
The meeting took place amid opposition from both Democrats and Republicans at home. White House Special Counsel Robert Mueller indicted 12 ‘Russian hackers’ on Friday, and the news was expected to cast a cloud over the summit, despite the fact that the ‘hackers’’ alleged offences took place during the Obama administration.
Journalists & pundits rush to interpret brief opening remarks before Trump-Putin summit
The media members watch the broadcast of the meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, July 16, 2018. © Grigory Dukor / Reuters
Following standard protocol, Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin exchanged brief remarks in front of the press before their meeting in Helsinki, inspiring journalists and pundits to delve into deep and slightly premature analyses.
Sitting next to each other, Trump and Putin offered up a few off-the-cuff comments to the press about what the two leaders hoped to achieve during their meeting. The brief and rather unremarkable exchange was immediately pounced on by journalists and pundits, who provided wide-ranging verdicts on a summit that had barely just begun.
Some theories on the power politics taking place right now. Putin arrives late but still first and could be seen as welcoming Trump to the presidential palace. Trump counters by sending a massive advance convoy in Mercedes. Still waiting for Trump himself to set off.
— Andrew Roth (@Andrew__Roth) July 16, 2018
The New Yorker’s Moscow correspondent had a particularly fresh take on the unspectacular encounter, noting that Putin had employed sneaky KGB tactics by… listening to what Trump was saying.
I usually find the "Putin as former KGB officer" line of analysis a lazy trope and not that helpful, but opening remarks in Helsinki make me think of what is surely spy tradecraft 101: let your interlocutor blabber on and on while you stay silent and amass tactical advantage.
— Joshua Yaffa (@yaffaesque) July 16, 2018
We've seen how these talks will go from their contrasting opening statements: Holding his cards close, Putin will subtly push his interests by seizing on emotions from Trump's stream-of-consciousness chatter and love of mutual flattery pic.twitter.com/fA7rHfSVcM
— Alec Luhn (@ASLuhn) July 16, 2018
Others worried that Trump had already been outgunned by Putin – who came armed to the meeting with a notepad and pen.
Putin appears ready to take notes in one-on-one with Trump. Ahead of meeting there were concerns among analysts that no official record would exist of the encounter. Trump didn’t appear to have a similar notepad. pic.twitter.com/fbeFXMdc9a
— Kevin Liptak (@Kevinliptakcnn) July 16, 2018
But Trump’s biggest sin was not diving headfirst into unproven allegations of Russian nerve-agent attacks, according to David Corn, Mother Jones’ DC bureau chief.
Notice: no mention of Russia's attack on the US. Or Crimea. Or Moscow's repression and human rights abuses. Or nerve agent attack. Trump can't bring himself to say anything negative about Putin. https://t.co/LjinI9MIRb
— David Corn (@DavidCornDC) July 16, 2018
Finally, Eliot Higgins employed his mastery of social media forensics to expose Donald Trump’s less-than-stellar command of the English language. More proof that Trump is really a crypto-Russian?
Credit to Putin for not laughing out loud at "90 percent of the nuclear" https://t.co/h1rf9EWDnb