Donald Trump is stoking controversy for a farewell tweet to the World Cup that personally thanked Russian President Vladimir Putin — just two days after an indictment came down for 12 Russian military officers for a cyberattack on the 2016 presidential election.
Sunday marked the end of the 2018 World Cup in Russia, with France defeating Croatia to take home the title. After the match ended, Trump took to Twitter to offer his congratulations to the French team with a specific shout-out for Putin.
“Congratulations to France, who played extraordinary soccer, on winning the 2018 World Cup,” Trump wrote. “Additionally, congratulations to President Putin and Russia for putting on a truly great World Cup Tournament — one of the best ever!”
The tweet stoked controversy as many had called on Trump to cancel the summit with Putin after the indictments against Russian military officers for their hacking attack on the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign during the 2016 election, as well as the actions to share these emails through WikiLeaks and other online sites. Trump and Putin are set to meet in private, with no other Americans present.
Trump faced growing pressure from Democrats and some Republicans either to cancel the summit or to aggressively push Vladimir Putin on the election interference, including demands that Trump ask for the indicted officers to be extradited to the United States.
Donald Trump has frequently been criticized for his deferential treatment to Vladimir Putin, despite Russia’s efforts to interfere with the 2016 presidential election. Earlier this year, as the Inquisitr reported, Trump made a congratulatory phone call to Putin after the Russian president’s re-election, despite warnings from the intelligence community to Trump not to congratulate Putin.
“We are witnessing something…even the Soviet Union was not able to accomplish: Divide the US & Western Europe. It didn’t work then, but it seems to be working with Mr. Trump now”—Tatyana Parkhalina of the Russian Association for Euro-Atlantic Cooperationhttps://t.co/RFkgcQIWHV
— Richard Hine (@richardhine) July 16, 2018
The phone call led to a sharp rebuke from a number of Democrats and even Republicans like Arizona Senator John McCain. Many noted how Trump has failed to take any concrete actions against Russia for the election interference, even putting off sanctions that passed with overwhelming bipartisan support in Congress.
It took President Trump less than 48 hours to congratulate Vladimir Putin on his election. Yet after 14 months, he still refuses to take any concrete steps to prevent foreign interference in the 2018 elections. #ProtectOurDemocracy
— Nancy Pelosi (@NancyPelosi) March 20, 2018
Over the weekend, Trump took to Twitter to lay blame at the feet of the DNC for allowing themselves to be hacked by Russia, saying that the Republican National Committee had stronger defenses. Trump also blamed former President Barack Obama for failing to do more to respond to Russia’s meddling, though previous reports indicated that Obama’s plans for a bipartisan response during the election were squashed by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who refused to sign off on the statement.