US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said President Donald Trump’s meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G20 summit took so long that First Lady Melania Trump was sent into the meeting “to see if she could get us out of there.”
“It is a very complicated relationship today because there are so many issues on the table,” Tillerson said, according to a White House statement. “And one of the reasons it took a long time, I think, is because … there was so much to talk about.”
“And I think there was just such a level of engagement and exchange, and neither one of them wanted to stop,” Tillerson continued. “Several times I had to remind the President, and people were sticking their heads in the door.”
Although Melania was sent to break up the meeting, her efforts appeared to be ineffective.
“Well, we went another hour after she came in to see us,” Tillerson. “So clearly she failed.”
The meeting, held in Hamburg, Germany, was the first bilateral meeting between the two presidents. Trump reportedly “pressed” Putin on a variety of subjects, including the ongoing civil war in Syria and Russia’s meddling in the 2016 US presidential election. They also discussed a cease-fire agreement in Syria and efforts to establish ties between the two country’s cybersecurity assets.
“It was an extraordinarily important meeting,” Tillerson said. “I mean, there’s just — there’s so much for us to talk about. And it was a good start.”