President Trump is not at all fazed by President Vladimir Putin’s decision to expel 755 American diplomats from Russia. In fact, Trump is actually thankful! Putin did him a solid.
On Wednesday, a reporter asked if Trump had any response to Putin, who dismissed the diplomats as retribution for a new round of sanctions levied on Russia. Without pause, Trump said he wanted to “thank” the Russian president for the dismissal.
“I want to thank him because we’re trying to cut down on payroll, and as far as I’m concerned, I’m very thankful that he let go of a large number of people, because now we have a smaller payroll,” Trump said during a press conference at his Bedminster, NJ, golf club. “There’s no real reason for them to go back. So I greatly appreciate the fact that we’ve been able to cut our payroll of the United States. We’ll save a lot of money.”
While The New York Times noted that Trump delivered the remark with a “somewhat light tone,” video of the exchange kinda makes it seem like he’s serious. At minimum, Trump’s reply is impulsive; there’s barely a second between his answer and when the reporter finishes the question.
Trump’s comments are unsurprising given his tendency to “improvise.” It is especially odd, however, that a man who rose to reality TV superstardom from the phrase “you’re fired” would be relieved that someone else trimmed the payroll for him.