Donald Trump was left in a rather embarrassing position after the White House invitation he extended to Russian president Vladimir Putin to visit the United States saw no response from the Russians, leading Trump to retract the invitation, according to Slate.
After the much-publicized and widely criticized Trump-Putin summit in Helsinki, which the American president undertook despite protestations at home, the White House unexpectedly announced that Trump wanted to build on what had been productive talks with Putin by extending the Russian president an invitation to visit Washington this fall. It was a move which received bipartisan backlash but didn’t deter the Trump administration from gushing about better relationships with Russia.
But now after the invitation hasn’t received an official response from Putin himself, National Security Adviser John Bolton was forced to concede on Wednesday that the proposed second meeting between the two leaders “should take place after the Russia witch hunt is over, so we’ve agreed that it will be after the first of the year.”
This is, of course, despite overwhelming evidence that Russia interfered in American presidential elections, but Trump and his administration continue to brand it as a “witch hunt,” which also, in this case, gives them a convenient excuse to cancel the invitation.
— Slate (@Slate) July 25, 2018
By all accounts, Putin would have very little to gain from a trip to Washington so soon after Helsinki, more so but when he knows that it would invite a lot of partisan bickering as well as the fact that he would likely face unprecedented protests. It is something which was underlined by Kremlin aide Yuri Ushakov, who pointed it would be better for the leaders to meet elsewhere soon after White House’s invitation.
Even in the case that Trump would want a quick follow-up, Ushakov suggested that Putin and Trump could meet on the sidelines of the upcoming G-20 meet in Argentina.
Kremlin also appears to be on guard from giving too much leeway to Trump, with Ushakov saying that the Russian president wouldn’t want to push ahead with a meeting even before the dust from Helsinki has settled.
“After the summit you know what kind of atmosphere there is around its outcome,” Ushakov said. “I think it would be wise to let the dust settle and then we can discuss all these questions in a business-like way. But not now.”
It appears even Vladimir Putin was surprised by Trump’s invitation and couldn’t help himself by declining the invitation by essentially giving Trump a cold shoulder.