12, July 2017
US President Donald Trump says his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin would have been more comfortable with his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, as the president. “If Hillary had won, our military would be decimated. Our energy would be much more expensive. That’s what Putin doesn’t like about me,” Trump said in an interview with Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) on Wednesday.
He also commented about the ceasefire in southwestern Syria, announced after his two-hour meeting with the Russian president on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit in Hamburg, Germany.
“Well he wants what’s good for Russia, and I want what’s good for the United States. And I think in a case like Syria where we can get together, do a ceasefire, and there are many other cases where getting along can be a very positive thing, but always Putin is going to want Russia and Trump is going to want the United States and that’s the way it is,” Trump said. “Sometimes you’re not going to get along on things and sometimes you will. But we had a good meeting, it was a face to face meeting, it was a long meeting. It was two hours and 15 minutes. Everyone was surprised by the amount of time but that was a good thing and not a bad thing. Yeah, I think we get along very well and I think that’s a good thing, that’s not a bad thing. People said, ‘Oh they shouldn’t get along.’ Well, who are the people that are saying that? I think we get along very, very well. We are a tremendously powerful nuclear power, and so are they. It doesn’t make sense not to have some kind of a relationship.”
His comments came as the FBI as well as congressional committees were investigating whether the Russian government coordinated with Trump associates during the 2016 campaign and transition. Since the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump has adopted a positive stance towards Russia and its leader. During the interview, he asserted that the ceasefire in Syria was a manifestation of forging better ties with Moscow.
“I think we had an excellent meeting. One thing we did is we had a ceasefire in a major part of Syria where there was tremendous bedlam and tremendous killing. And, by the way, this is now four days. The ceasefire has held for four days. Those (previous) ceasefires haven’t held at all. That’s because President Putin and President Trump made the deal, and it’s held. Now, I don’t know what’s going to happen. Maybe as we’re speaking they start shooting again. But this has held unlike all of the other ceasefires that didn’t mean anything,” Trump said. “So, that was a great thing that came out of that meeting. I think a lot of things came out of that meeting but I do believe it’s important to have a dialogue and if you don’t have a dialogue, it’s a lot of problems for our country and for their country. I think we need dialogue. We need dialogue with everybody.”
Syria has been beset by conflict since March 2011. Numerous rounds of talks and three different UN special envoys have failed to resolve the crisis which has claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands of people. The UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura said Monday that there is a higher potential than we are seeing in the past for progress” following the new cessation of hostilities.