President Donald Trump said Thursday that he was “very thankful” that Russian President Vladimir Putin expelled 755 US diplomats from the US Embassy in Moscow.
“I want to thank him because we’re trying to cut down our payroll and as far as I’m concerned I’m very thankful that he let go of a large number of people because now we have a smaller payroll,” Trump said during a press conference from his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey.
“There’s no real reason for them to go back. I greatly appreciate the fact that we’ve been able to cut our payroll of the United States. We’re going to save a lot of money.”
It was the first public statement addressing Russia’s expulsion of hundreds of diplomats and technical staff that was announced in July. The move by Putin came in response to new US sanctions against Russia in response to its interference in the 2016 presidential election.
Though he had previously remained silent on the issue of diplomatic staff, Trump criticised the sanctions imposed on Russia with a signing statement, in which he said the law he was signing included “a number of clearly unconstitutional provisions.”
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