US President Donald Trump has declared that US relations with Russia “may be at an all-time low”.
His top diplomat offered a similarly grim assessment after meeting Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow earlier on Wednesday.
“Right now we’re not getting along with Russia at all,” Trump said flatly during a White House news conference. It was stark evidence that the president is moving ever further from his campaign promises to establish better ties with Moscow.
Only weeks ago, it appeared that Trump, who praised Putin throughout the U.S. election campaign, was poised for a potentially historic rapprochement with Russia. But any such expectations have crashed into reality amid the nasty back-and-forth over Syria and ongoing US investigations into Russia’s alleged interference in America’s US presidential election.
“It’d be a fantastic thing if we got along with Putin and if we got along with Russia,” Trump said. But he clearly wasn’t counting on it.
“That could happen, and it may not happen,” he said. “It may be just the opposite.”
Not long before Trump spoke in Washington, secretary of state Rex Tillerson struck a similar tone after an almost two-hour meeting with Putin, saying the two countries had reached a “low point” in relations.
Trump, who last week ordered airstrikes on a Syrian air base in retaliation for a chemical weapons attack, was asked Wednesday if Syria could have launched the attack without Russia’s knowledge. Trump said it was “certainly possible” though “probably unlikely.”