President Trump is again under fire for his stance regarding Moscow. It is reported that on Tuesday, the U.S. President made a call to the Russian President Vladimir Putin, to congratulate him on getting elected for a fourth term; and Trump is said to have described the conversation between the two leaders as a “very good call”.
“I had a call with President Putin and congratulated him on the victory, his electoral victory,” were President’s Trump words during a meeting with the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammad Bin Salman, which landed Trump in hot water, especially after his declaration that, “The call had to do also with the fact that we will probably get together in the not too distant future so that we can discuss arms, we can discuss the arms race which is getting out of control.”
The official statement released by the White House on the issue of this phone call was, “the state of bilateral relations and resolved to continue dialogue about mutual national security priorities and challenges” including the need for “denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula.”
The Kremlin also released a statement on Tuesday regarding Trump’s congratulatory call to Putin and the discussion that took place between the leaders, “in favor of developing practical cooperation in various areas, including in ensuring strategic stability and combating international terrorism. In particular, they underlined the importance of coordinated efforts to limit an arms race.”
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) was quoted saying on this issue that “An American president does not lead the Free World by congratulating dictators on winning sham elections,”, then added, “And by doing so with Vladimir Putin, President Trump insulted every Russian citizen who was denied the right to vote in a free and fair election to determine their country’s future, including the countless Russian patriots who have risked so much to protest and resist Putin’s regime.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) had a different stance on the phone call between Trump and Putin, he said that the President “call whomever he chooses,” although Putin “wouldn’t have been high on my list.”
One reason for this backlash is Russia’s supposed involvement in the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in the UK. “This latest action by Russia fits into a pattern of behavior in which Russia disregards the international rules-based order, undermines the sovereignty and security of countries worldwide, and attempts to subvert and discredit Western democratic institutions and processes,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in an official statement.
President Trump had also shown his displeasure on this alleged act by Russia, which was also a violation of international law and protocol. However, the President’s stance on this topic went unnoticed. And this phone call was highlighted in a very different light. Instead of seeing it as an attempt by the President to release some of the tension building between the two countries, it was perceived as something grave.
Another reason for this backlash against President Trump is the Mueller investigation that has sparked an unnecessary doubt in the minds of the public. This probe is centered on allegations that Russia played a hand in influencing Trumps’ presidential win in the 2016 elections, and was behind several cyber attacks against the U.S. This was also the reason why Trump’s security advisers had warned him against congratulating Putin.