Russian President Vladimir Putin can do no wrong in the eyes of President Donald Trump. And he has demonstrated it again in Biarritz France, blaming his predecessor, Barack Obama for Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014.
The G-8 suspended Russia from the group and shrank to become G-7.
Trump wants Russia and Putin back and he has said, to the discomfiture of other members, that he would invite Putin to the meeting when next the United States hosts.
Speaking in France at the G-7 conference, Trump praised Putin for outsmarting President Obama.
He said Russia should be welcomed back into the annual meeting of the leaders of the world’s largest economic powers.
Trump repeatedly expressed his disagreement with the decision to suspend Russia’s membership in what was then called the G-8 over its seizure of the crucial peninsula of Crimea from the Ukraine. He claimed that Obama was “embarrassed” and “outsmarted by Putin.”
“Would I invite [Putin]? I would certainly invite him,” Trump said, in answer to a question about next year’s meeting, which will be hosted by the U.S. But he expressed concern that the Russian president’s feelings were hurt by the earlier expulsion.
“President Obama was not happy that this happened and it was embarrassing to him, right? It was very embarrassing to him, and he wanted Russia to be out of what was called the G-8. That was his determination. He was outsmarted by Putin. President Putin outsmarted President Obama. I can understand how President Obama would feel, he wasn’t happy.”
Trump had previously sided with Putin against U.S. intelligence agencies at a 2018 meeting in Helsinki. He didn’t answer a question Monday about possible Russian meddling in the next presidential election.