Trump Attacks Obama in Latest Push to Readmit Russia to G7

“Why keep repeating what some people would see as a lie?” PBS’s Yamiche Alcindor asked.

Michael Kappeler/ZUMA

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President Donald Trump on Monday continued his longheld campaign to readmit Russia to the G7, arguing that having the Kremlin “inside the tent” rather than outside would strengthen the world’s security. 

“A lot of people say having Russia, which is a power, having them inside the room is better than having them outside the room,” Trump told reporters at a press conference from the G7 summit in Biarritz, France. “By the way, there were numerous people during the G7 that felt that way. We didn’t take a vote or anything but we did discuss it.”

Trump continued by again mischaracterizing the events that lead to Russia’s expulsion, claiming that the 2014 decision came after former President Barack Obama was supposedly frustrated that Vladimir Putin had “outsmarted” him in the region. That, of course, is not true: a majority of countries in the group, including the US, booted Russia to protest the illegal annexation of Crimea.

“President Obama was not happy that this happened because it was embarrassing to him, and he wanted Russia to be out of what was called the G8,” Trump said. “He was outsmarted by Putin, he was outsmarted. President Putin outsmarted President Obama.”

PBS’ Yamiche Alcindor instantly pushed back on the remarks, reminding the president that Russia had illegally invaded and annexed Crimea. “Why keep repeating what some people would see as a lie?” she asked.

“I know you like President Obama but it was annexed during President Obama’s term,” Trump told Alcindor, who is black. “If it was annexed during my term I’d say, ‘Sorry folks, I made a mistake.'” 

The remarks follow a statement from European Council President Donald Tusk on Saturday when he categorically rejected the suggestion to invite Russia back. “Under no condition can we agree with this logic,” Tusk said in a press conference.

The criticism does not appear to have dimmed the president’s enthusiasm. Asked if he would welcome Putin to next year’s summit, which Trump is hosting, Trump told reporters on Monday said that he would “certainly” extend an invite.

“Whether or not he could come psychologically, I think that’s a tough thing for him to do.”

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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