President-elect Donald Trump on Friday praised Vladimir Putin, Russia’s president, as “very smart” for refusing to eject U.S. diplomats in response to retaliatory actions the Obama administration took against Russia over election-related cyberattacks and email leaks.
The statement, in typical Trump style, came via Twitter.
Great move on delay (by V. Putin) – I always knew he was very smart!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 30, 2016
Trump calling Putin “V. Putin” mimics the Russian president’s statement earlier on Friday, which disparaged the Obama administration’s “irresponsible diplomacy” and said his government planned to wait for “the policies that the administration of D. Trump will pursue.”
Russia’s American embassy later retweeted Trump’s tweet praising Putin.
The White House on Thursday announced that it would impose sanctions on nine Russian individuals or entities, including four officers in Russia’s military intelligence agency, GRU, which the U.S. government believes orchestrated cyberattacks against the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta. The U.S. has also expelled 35 Russian intelligence diplomats from U.S. soil and closed access to two U.S. properties used by Russia’s government.
The unilateral methods Obama used to impose the sanctions and diplomat expulsions allows Trump to largely overturn those actions when he takes office on Jan. 20.