WASHIGNTON, April 4 — U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday showed mixed attitude toward Russia, emphasizing his toughness on Moscow while expecting better bilateral relations.
“Probably nobody’s been tougher to Russia than Donald Trump,” said Trump at the White House in a working luncheon with visiting leaders from three Baltic countries.
Meanwhile, Trump said “ideally, we want to be able to get along with Russia. Getting along with Russia is a good thing, not a bad thing.”
“I think I could have a very good relationship with President (Vladimir) Putin,” noted Trump later in the day at a joint press conference with the leaders from Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.
Relationship between Washington and Moscow has plunged to a new low, as the United States expelled 60 Russian diplomats and closed the Russian consulate in Seattle in a concerted action with Britain and other Western nations over an ex-spy poisoning case.
Moscow retaliated with the expulsion of an equal number of U.S. diplomats and the closure of the U.S. consulate in St. Petersburg.
So far, Trump has kept from launching from direct verbal attack against Moscow over the poisoning attack.
Last week, Trump made a call to Putin to congratulate him on his re-election and offered to meet at several “potential venues” including the White House in the near future, despite strong opposition from senior national security advisors.