Ahead of a summit between Russian president Vladimir Putin and President Donald Trump, Democrats like Hillary Clinton suggested that the president wasn’t tough enough on a leader allegedly behind 2016 election meddling.
Great World Cup. Question for President Trump as he meets Putin: Do you know which team you play for?
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) July 16, 2018
Although Trump had congratulated Putin on his electoral win and World Cup success, he wasn’t so nice in response to a threatening video from the Russian president.
When Trump saw a Russian propaganda video of nuclear weapons striking Florida, Trump reportedly was angry and told Putin he would lose in an arms race.
“I’ve already increased defense spending, modernized our nuclear weapons…We can do more, so if you want to do an arms race you’ll lose,” Trump said, according to Axios.
Trump reportedly “lashed out” at Putin and called the video “outrageous.”
Ironically, that conversation happened during the same controversial phone call in which Trump congratulated Putin on his electoral win — a move that would enhance Democrats’ speculation that he was too easy on the Russian leader.
The video was likely some kind of power play and, according to former CIA director Michael Hayden, Putin “clearly” wanted the United States to see it.
While Trump prefaced Monday’s summit with a congratulatory message about the World Cup, Putin appeared to attempt yet another power play when he showed up to their meeting an hour late:
Putin being an hour late to meeting…pathetic attempt at power play for a country that we dwarf economically. Would have been funny (but ill-advised) if @realDonaldTrump just left.
— Laura Ingraham (@IngrahamAngle) July 16, 2018
Trump and Putin previously met one-on-one at the G20 summit last year, when the president caught criticism for not challenging Putin enough on alleged election meddling.
Trump has apparently tried to selectively reprimand Putin for his country’s actions, offering conciliatory language while imposing harsh sanctions in response to meddling claims.