President Donald Trump doubled down on earlier statements, stressing on Twitter Saturday that having a positive relationship with Russia will advance U.S. interests.
Trump referred to those individuals holding the U.S. back “haters and fools.”
“If we had a relationship with Russia, that would be a good thing,” Trump told reporters in Vietnam Saturday.
The president slammed the Democrats for creating an “artificial barrier ” between the U.S. and Russia, preventing the two major powers from working together on issues of mutual interest.
Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin met at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Vietnam, and when the matter of election meddling came up, Putin vehemently denied any wrongdoing.
“He said he didn’t meddle. He said he didn’t meddle. I asked him again. You can only ask so many times,” Trump said, adding “Every time he sees me, he says, ‘I didn’t do that.’ And I believe, I really believe, that when he tells me that, he means it. But he says, ‘I didn’t do that.’”
It remains unclear whether Trump legitimately believes Putin over the U.S. intelligence community, which has determined that Russia meddled in the election but did not impact the outcome, or whether he is trying to establish working relationships with major actors like China and Russia to resolve issues like North Korea.
His “haters and fools” tweet were preceded by two tweets claiming that progress is being made on key international problems with Russia and China’s help.