H.R. McMaster, Donald Trump's former White House national security adviser, reportedly told colleagues during his tenure, "The president thinks he can be friends with Putin. I don't know why, or why he would want to be."
McMaster's assessment about Trump's wishes was bolstered two weeks ago, when the American president hosted a press conference in Brussels as the latest NATO summit wrapped up. A reporter asked Trump why he expects to "get along" with the Russian leader.
The Republican replied that he and Putin "got along very well" during their previous encounters, adding, "He's not my enemy, and hopefully, someday, maybe he'll be a friend. It could happen."
Either Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, didn't see the president's comments, or she simply didn't care.
Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said Monday that Russia is "never going to be our friend," but downplayed concerns over President Trump's meeting and press conference last week with Russian President Vladimir Putin."We don't trust Russia. We don't trust Putin. We never will. They're never going to be our friend. That's just a fact," Haley told Christian Broadcasting Network's David Brody.
When it comes to Russia, Trump and top members of his team routinely read from different scripts, but Haley offers a rather extreme example of the dynamic.
Indeed, it's only been a few months since Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, declared to the world that the administration would announce new sanctions on Russia over its support for the Assad regime in Syria.
As regular readers may recall, what Haley didn't know was that Trump had rejected that idea, making her declaration wrong. The White House soon after suggested that Haley was “confused,” prompting the ambassador to issue a statement that read, “With all due respect, I don’t get confused.”