Expel and replace

Remember how last week, to the surprise of all, Trump joined the UK and other allies in expelling Russian diplomats?

He was just kidding. Russia can totally send new ones to replace the expellees.

Julian Borger is the Guardian’s world affairs editor.

Julian Borger in the Guardian yesterday:

The White House has confirmed that Donald Trump has raised with Vladimir Putin the possibility of a White House summit in the “not-too-distant” future.

The news of a White House invitation, first revealed by the Kremlin, came as the state department confirmed that Russia would be able to replace the diplomats the US expelled last week in response to the nerve agent attack in the UK. Both developments cast doubt on the effectiveness of what the US presented last week as a strong gesture of solidarity with the British government for the attack on the Russian ex-spy living in Salisbury, Sergei Skrypal and his daughter Yulia.

That’s a nice way of putting it. A blunt way of putting it would be that Trump was bullshitting us all last week.

A Putin aide, Yuri Ushakov, told Russian news agencies that Trump made the offer when he called Putin to congratulate him on his election win – a call that caused controversy because Trump’s critics argued that congratulations were inappropriate for elections that few saw as being free and fair, and because of Russian aggression in Ukraine and Syria as well as Moscow’s interference in western elections.

Oh that.

Asked about the invitation, the White House spokeswoman, Sarah Sanders, issued a statement saying: “As the President himself confirmed on 20 March, hours after his last call with President Putin, the two had discussed a bilateral meeting in the ‘not-too-distant future’ at a number of potential venues, including the White House. We have nothing further to add at this time.”

In other words: shut up, peasants. Question not our motives.

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