Never one to pull any punches, former President Donald Trump issued a statement ahead of President Joe Biden’s upcoming meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in which he wished the current commander in chief “good luck” and sarcastically cautioned him to not “fall asleep,” as the Washigton Examiner reported.
Trump’s remarks come while Biden prepares to sit down with Putin on Wednesday in Geneva, Switzerland as part of an eight-day trip abroad. The two leaders are believed to have topics such as cyberattacks, Ukraine, nuclear proliferation, election interference, and human rights on their agenda.
The former president also touched on his own experiences with Putin, emphasizing his belief that the Russian president had a healthy regard for the United States during his tenure, saying, “As President, I had a great and very productive meeting in Helsinki, Finland with President Putin of Russia. Despite the belated Fake News portrayal of the meeting, the United States won much, including the respect of President Putin and Russia.”
In his statement, Trump also lamented the Russia-related investigations that dogged him throughout his time in office, suggesting that they made his job in dealing with Putin that much more difficult. “Because of the phony Russia, Russia, Russia Hoax, made-up and paid for by the Democrats and Crooked Hillary Clinton, the United States was put at a disadvantage – a disadvantage that was nevertheless overcome by me,” the former president declared.
Biden’s impending encounter with Putin has caused some to question the wisdom of such a meeting and raise doubts about the current president’s ability to hold his own against the more aggressive, combative approach customarily taken by his Russian counterpart.
In a recent op-ed for The Hill, contributor Liz Peek went so far as to suggest that Biden cancel the confab with Putin altogether, arguing not only that there was little likelihood of any diplomatic progress being made, but also that there was a high probability of the president humiliating himself as well as his country.
Peek further contended that by publicly branding Putin a “killer” in a March interview, Biden created conditions sure to tempt the Russian president to take an even harder line against someone he perceives as weak and whom even the White House press secretary has admitted is not trusted to participate in unscripted questioning – even from journalists in his own county.
Indeed, as potential evidence of hesitancy on the part of Biden’s advisors to subject the aging president to a potentially embarrassing scenario, it was announced Saturday that the two leaders will not hold a joint news conference following their discussion, despite the fact that Trump did so after his meeting with Putin. Biden will instead appear for a solo press event later that day, according to NPR.
Though mainstream media outlets and the White House itself are taking pains to downplay expectations from the summit between Putin and Biden, the danger that the American president will project a glaring degree of confusion and decline on the international stage remains quite real, a prospect Trump was characteristically unable to ignore.