President Donald Trump seems to have demonstrated his trademark nuanced understanding of foreign politics when he reportedly told G7 leaders that “Crimea is Russian because everyone who lives there speaks Russian.”
According to Buzzfeed’s usual anonymous sources, Trump made his remark after wading into a discussion on foreign affairs during a dinner at the G7 summit in Quebec, Canada last Friday.
If true, Trump’s statement will likely have ‘Russiagate’ fans and the #resistance screeching. Russia’s 2014 reunification with Crimea, whose population is almost 60 percent ethnic Russian, is widely viewed in the West as an annexation, despite the fact that Crimeans voted overwhelmingly to join Russia.
During the dinner, Trump reportedly questioned why the other G7 leaders were siding with Ukraine, telling them: “Ukraine is one of the most corrupt countries in the world.”
The snarky masses in the comments section under Buzzfeed’s article immediately leapt on Trump.
“Trump laying the groundwork to sell the US back to England since so many of us speak English. It's call the Art of the Deal sweetie lewk it up,” read one comment from Jer Bear.
“USA is England, Austria is Germany, it easy. But Canada is England or France? And what about Switzerland??? It is France or Germany?” said a sarcastic Uladzislau Ulasenka.
“Oh we don't really NEED Florida do we? They all speak Spanish anyway, it's better if it’s part of Russia’ - Supreme Leader Trump in 5 years when Putin annexes Florida,” wrote Anthony Perrone, clearly troubled by the Russian president’s intercontinental powers of annexation.
On Twitter, the liberal reaction was similar:
Trump says Russia should control Crimea, Ukraine because its residents speak Russian.
I say Russia should control Brighton Beach, New York because its residents speak Russian.— Michael MacKay (@mhmck) June 14, 2018
To the conservative-leaning National Review's Jay Nordlinger, Trump's comment could have came direct from this very news agency.
I have read what Trump said at the G-7 about Russia, Crimea, etc. I have read it but can hardly believe it. This is the U.S. president? Why is he talking like an RT host? Just when you think things might be slightly normal -- you're jolted back into reality. A head-spinning time.— Jay Nordlinger (@jaynordlinger) June 9, 2018
Trump has repeatedly called during the summit for Russia’s readmission to the group of seven. “This used to be the G8, not the G7,” Trump said. “Something happened a while ago where Russia is no longer in.”
The position of European leaders, however, is clear. Russia will not be readmitted to the club after its ‘invasion’ of Ukraine. On that point, “the ball is in Russia’s court,” French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted.
La Russie est une grande puissance européenne. Nous devons travailler ensemble. Mais il faut être cohérent : on élargira le G7 si et seulement si les accords de Minsk sur l'Ukraine sont respectés. La balle est dans le camp de la Russie.— Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) June 9, 2018
After a tense summit marred by trade arguments, Trump and the other leaders signed a communique affirming their shared commitment to free and open trade. Trump later withdrew his signature, after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau chose to wait until Trump departed the meeting before announcing retaliatory tariffs on American goods.
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