New Book Implies Trump Was Even Nicer to Putin in Private

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President Trump knew his obsequious behavior around Vladimir Putin was drawing unwelcome notice, so he attempted to put on a tougher face for the public, a new book from former White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham alleges.

In the book, which the Washington Post obtained an advanced copy of, Grisham describes the dynamics at a meeting between Trump and Putin at the G-20 summit in Japan in 2019:

She saw Trump lean toward Putin that day and tell him: “Okay, I’m going to act a little tougher with you for a few minutes. But it’s for the cameras, and after they leave, we’ll talk. You understand.”

Apparently, the press conference at that G-20 event was a demonstration of the tough-on-Putin approach. There, Trump asked Putin — with a smile — to stop interfering in U.S. elections and commiserated with the Russian leader about “fake news.”

This may have beaten Trump’s posture toward Putin in Helsinki the previous year, during which he seemed to physically shrink in front of the Russian leader, but not by much.

One can only imagine what Trump was like with Putin in private.

New Book Implies Trump Was Even Nicer to Putin in Private