On the last day of the APEC summit held in the resort town of Da Nang, Vietnam, President Donald Trump invited Russia’s Vladimir Putin to assume a co-leadership role in governing the United States.
“He’s a great guy, very honest and straightforward,” said the president as he boarded Air Force One after a 10-minute meeting with Putin. “He’d be a great asset to our country and he knows a lot about cyber security, too.”
Mr. Trump also told reporters that he offered Mr. Putin his parking spot on the White House grounds, “as a gesture of goodwill, so he knows I enter into this governing partnership with nothing but admiration for his management style.”
Reminded by his traveling press pool that Russia is not an ally of the U.S., and that every American spy agency has determined that the Russians did interfere in the 2016 election by spreading propaganda favoring Mr. Trump, the president said, “No way, I asked him. Every time he sees me he says ‘I didn’t do that,’ and I really believe that when he tells me that, he means it. I think he is very insulted by it, which is not a good thing for our country.”
Many in both parties have been suspicious of Mr. Trump’s warm embrace of the Russian leader, especially with so many of the president’s cabinet members and White House appointees having past financial ties to the Kremlin.
But as President Trump left Vietnam headed to the Philippines, he sought to assure Americans that his reconciliation efforts toward Mr. Putin and the Kremlin will pay big dividends in the long run.
“Vlad likes me, I can tell. We seem to have a very good feeling for each other… And, don’t forget, he’s got a very big army, lots of terrific weapons, and he knows how to use them. That could come in handy if we ever went to war with the North Koreans, or the Martians.”
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