Well, this is awkward. President Donald Trump’s BFF Vladimir Putin is mad about new U.S. sanctions targeting his country and there’s not much Trump can do about it.
On Sunday, Putin appeared on state–owned TV and announced that 755 U.S. diplomats would be expelled from Russia by Sept. 1 in retaliation for the new sanctions placed on Russia by the U.S. Congress, The New York Times reported. Politically, Trump’s hands are tied and this time he can’t help his friend, which must be driving Trump mad. Prepare for another tweet storm.
The sanctions, mainly targeting the oil industry and financial markets, are meant to punish Russia for its meddling in the 2016 U.S. elections. They have overwhelming bipartisan support in Congress. Earlier this week, the House voted 419–3 in favor of the new measures. Two days later, the Senate held a similar vote, with the legislation passing 98–2.
Indicating how congressional Republicans really feel about Trump, the measures passed by both chambers thwart any effort by Trump to soften or rescind the Russia sanctions without congressional approval. This particular detail is noteworthy because, according to the Times, it handcuffs “a sitting president just six months into his term with the nearly unanimous support of a Republican–led Congress.”
In other words, Trump’s own party doesn’t even trust him or his relationship with Putin and Russian oligarchs.
With few other options, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said on Friday that Trump would sign the sanctions, which also include measures against Iran and North Korea.
Putin’s patience with his friend in the White House seems to be running out.
“We waited for quite some time that maybe something will change for the better, had such hope that the situation will somehow change, but, judging by everything, if it changes, it will not be soon,” Putin said.