The key summit today in Helsinki, Finland, between President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin has apparently gotten off to a “very good start,” according to the president himself, who flew to the neutral nation for discussions with the Russian president yesterday.
Mercury News reported that talks between the two leaders began today, with a crucial first step being taken in furthering the ability for constant communication between Trump and Putin henceforth.
Trump began the day by restating on Twitter how he felt that his controversial recent NATO meeting in which he verbally attacked allies for not compensating the group financially enough, stating that he’s received “many calls from leaders of NATO countries” thanking him for helping “to get them focused on financial obligations, both present & future.” Adding further that the media “inaccurately covered” the ordeal overall, leading individuals to question if Trump would bring that same energy to his talks with Putin.
After breakfast with Finland’s President Sauli Niinistö, Trump stated once again on Twitter that he felt as though relations with Russia “has NEVER been worse” and blames the hostility on “many years of U.S. foolishness and stupidity and now, the Rigged Witch Hunt!” But maintains how he aims to affect change in that regard.
Our relationship with Russia has NEVER been worse thanks to many years of U.S. foolishness and stupidity and now, the Rigged Witch Hunt!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 16, 2018
To these statements, the Russian Foreign Ministry replied to Trump’s tweet, sharing a simple “we agree.”
A few hours later, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s jet touched down in Finland for the beginning of his discussions with Trump, albeit 30 minutes late, further solidifying the foreign leader’s notorious anti-punctuality mindset.
Upon disembarking his jet, Putin entered his armored limousine called the Kortezh, taken out of Russia for the first time for this engagement, seemingly as a way to match Trump’s famed “Beast” armored limousine that he frequently travels in.
The two leaders met at Finland’s Presidential Palace to take part in their initial talks, a luncheon, and a joint news conference throughout the day.
Trump maintains that he has high hopes for better relations with the Russian leader. However, he faces bipartisan skepticism in Washington that his desire for warming ties is displacing concerns over significantly destabilizing actions committed by the foreign entity, such as Russia’s annexation of Crimea.
Despite this, the president stated that discussions will involve trade, the military, missiles, nuclear weapons and China, including their “mutual friend” China’s Xi Jingping.
Although Trump had no problem speaking incessantly to reporters as cameras snapped photos of the two men, Putin restricted his choice of words, only mentioning that “the time has come to talk thoroughly about bilateral relations as well as various hotspots in the world.” He called the meeting part of “continued constant contacts” between the men.
The world leaders would then meet for well over two hours, extending far beyond their allotted 90 minutes of discussion time for the day. Trump had left the talks with statements of “a good start, a very good start for everybody.”
A joint press conference between the two nations is forthcoming.