“It’s certainly possible, we’ll see”, Donald Trump said Sunday, of the possibility he might invite Vladimir Putin to next year’s G-7 gathering, which the US will host.
The comments came during his breakfast meeting with Boris Johnson, during which the US president told the media that the leaders gathered in France “had a very good discussion on Russia and President Putin, and a lively discussion, but, really, a good one”.
Putin was, of course, ejected from the “club” years ago after the annexation of Crimea, but has indicated an openness to making an appearance if invited. Other countries do monitor the proceedings as guests.
“I think it’s much more appropriate to have Russia in”, Trump said earlier this week.
“I could certainly see it being the G-8 again [and] if somebody would make that motion, I would certainly be disposed to think about it very favorably”, the US president went on to muse, just prior to a Tuesday pow wow with Romania’s Klaus Iohannis. “I guess President Obama, because Putin outsmarted him, President Obama thought it wasn’t a good thing to have Russia in”, Trump sneered. “So he wanted Russia out”.
That wasn’t the first time Trump has claimed that Russia’s geopolitical aggression is somehow the fault of Obama.
For his part, Boris Johnson echoed Trump’s Sunday assessment of the Russia discussion which, apparently, played out over dinner in Biarritz. “It was lively”, Johnson said.
Donald Tusk isn’t having it. “One year ago, in Canada, President Trump suggested reinviting Russia to [the] G-7, stating openly that Crimea’s annexation by Russia was partially justified. And that we should accept this fact”, he said Saturday. “Under no condition can we agree with this logic”, he added.
Germany, France and the UK have all dismissed the idea of inviting Russia back.
“I do not want Russia to be reintegrated without conditions”, Macron said earlier this month. “No weakness”.
“When it comes to the speculation around inviting Russia to the table, I would like to say this. First, the reasons why Russia was disinvited in 2014 are still valid. What is more, there are new reasons, such as the Russian provocation on the Azov Sea”, Tusk reminded the world, in the same Saturday remarks.
Trump continues to insist Putin’s readmission is possible. Who knows, maybe they’ll be a vote some day and the Kremlin can rig it.