According to a Washington Post report, during a dinner at the G-20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, Trump left his seat and had an “informal” chat with Putin and Putin’s translator. The discussion between the two leaders was first reported by Ian Bremmer of the Eurasia Group.
Trump formally met with Putin for over two hours during the G-20 summit. However, the White House made no mention of their second discussion prior to Bremmer’s disclosure.
News of the chat erupted on social media. Almost immediately, Trump blasted the media for its reporting.
Fake News story of secret dinner with Putin is "sick." All G 20 leaders, and spouses, were invited by the Chancellor of Germany. Press knew!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 19, 2017
The Fake News is becoming more and more dishonest! Even a dinner arranged for top 20 leaders in Germany is made to look sinister!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 19, 2017
The president is both correct and incorrect in his refutation of the reports. The story developed legs on social around it being “undisclosed,” as both the Post and NBC News described it, but the reports clearly state that it occurred during the dinner for G-20 leaders. Nowhere in the reporting was it called a “secret dinner,” as the president characterized it. And while the press was aware of the dinner occurring for G-20 leaders, they were not privy to the ongoings inside.
While the White House called the meeting “brief,” the Post said the meeting lasted roughly an “hour,” according to a source present. In a statement to the media, the White House echoed the president’s sentiment that the nature of the meeting was mischaracterized.
“The insinuation that the White House has tried to ‘hide’ a second meeting is false, malicious and absurd,” the White House said.