Trump Holds On Sanctions, Is Not So Tough On Russia

Trump said “nobody has been tougher on Russia.” This was laughable, and now it's more clear than ever that Trump would much rather be friends with Putin than stand up to Russia.


Trump walked back his own administration’s announcement of additional sanctions on Russia.


Washington Post: “President Trump on Monday put the brakes on a preliminary plan to impose additional economic sanctions on Russia, walking back a Sunday announcement by U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley that the Kremlin had swiftly denounced as ‘international economic raiding.’”


Trump reportedly got furious at his administration for being too tough on Russia.


Washington Post: “The president, who seemed to believe that other individual countries would largely equal the United States, was furious that his administration was being portrayed in the media as taking by far the toughest stance on Russia. … Growing angrier, Trump insisted that his aides had misled him about the magnitude of the expulsions. There were curse words,’ the official said, ‘a lot of curse words.’”


Trump would rather have a good relationship with Putin, than take action to stand up to Russia.


New York Times: “Speaking later with reporters aboard Air Force One as Mr. Trump headed to Florida, Ms. Sanders added that ‘the president has been clear that he’s going to be tough on Russia, but at the same time he’d still like to have a good relationship with them.’”


Washington Post: “Privately, he complained to aides that the media’s fixation on the Mueller probe was hobbling his effort to woo Putin. ‘I can’t put on the charm,’ the president often said, according to one of his advisers. ‘I’m not able to be president because of this witch hunt.’”


Trump has once again become “very soft” and “uncomfortable” when it comes to being tough on Russia.


MSNBC’s Morning Joe: John Heilemann: “After a year and a half of Donald Trump never saying anything about Vladimir Putin, all of a sudden last week in the wake of the chemical attacks in Syria, suddenly Trump made his first criticism Vladimir Putin and for three days escalating rhetoric on Twitter, suddenly Trump seems to have reversed course and decided to get tough with Putin. And now we had the air strikes last weekend and all the sudden we're back to Donald Trump being very…” Joe Scarborough: “Very nervous, very skittish, very soft as you were about to say.”


MSNBC’s Morning Joe: Carol Leonnig: “Well, I think there are two possible and likely options. One, he was re-surprised that this was on the menu and felt like there had been a series of sanctions already that were quite hefty, bombing for example, the raids. And then there the other option is that he became increasingly uncomfortable with being hard on Putin and hard on Russia.”