Donald Trump Reportedly Deferred To The United Kingdom To Stand Up To Vladimir Putin

U.S. President Donald Trump (L) and Russian President Vladimir Putin shake hands during a joint press conference after their summit on July 16, 2018 in Helsinki, Finland.
Chris McGrath / Getty Images

A Saturday report from The Telegraph covered leaked meeting notes that suggested that U.S. President Donald Trump pushed back on former British Prime Minister Theresa May’s calls to expel Russian diplomats after the poisoning of former Russian military officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter. The notes were taken during high-level meetings between the U.K. and the U.S., and they shine a light on the unique relationship between the two countries.

“No, all of us have to be together,” Trump allegedly said of the push to expel Russian spies.

“Germany has to do something. You have to put together a coalition. I’m not willing for the U.S. to go first and then have others not to do anything. Germany has to do something.”

“I would rather follow than lead,” he reportedly said elsewhere in the conversation.

According to the report, one U.S. official listening in on the call claimed that May was so frustrated with Trump’s pushback that he thought she would “scream or start crying.”

Per The Telegraph, Trump ultimately expelled 60 Russian diplomats, topping the counts of any other country. After learning that France and Germany only expelled four each, the president allegedly accused the two countries of misleading him.

May also allegedly offered Trump advice on how to deal with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“You have to engage with Putin but beware,” she reportedly said.

“He only respects strength. You have to be tough.”

Before Trump’s purge of Russian spies, the largest U.S. purge took place in 1986 when former President Ronald Reagan’s leadership booted 55 officials, The Independent reported. In 2001, former President George W. Bush’s administration kicked 50 officials out of the country.

Britain's Prime Minister, Theresa May, meets Russia's President, Vladimir Putin, during a bilateral meeting on the first day of the G20 summit on June 28, 2019 in Osaka, Japan.
  Carl Court / Getty Images

Although Trump often receives criticism for his purportedly warm relationship with Putin, John Herbst, a Russia scholar at the Atlantic Council, told The Independent that the American leader has taken multiple aggressive actions against the Kremlin.

“If you just look at policy, this administration has taken steps the Obama administration was not willing to, such as supplying antitank missiles to Ukraine.”

Herbst noted that Trump’s “heart doesn’t seem to be in” such actions but said he ultimately follows the advice of his advisers.

Nevertheless, Trump and his allies continue to face scrutiny for their actions related to Russia. As The Inquisitr reported, the president’s Department of Homeland Security recently withheld information on Russian attacks on Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s mental health — a frequent point of attack for Trump and his allies. Critics suggested that the decision to withhold the information was strategic and intended to help the leader’s prospects in the upcoming November presidential election.