Trump reportedly left staffers ‘genuinely horrified’ in his phone calls with Putin, Saudi Arabia – Business Insider

  • A bombshell whistleblower report that was revealed in September sparked the latest concerns over President Donald Trump’s contact with foreign leaders.
  • However, a new report from The Washington Post says senior administration staffers have reportedly been horrified and unsurprised by Trump’s behavior in calls and public appearances for his entire term. 
  • One such occasion was a call in January 2017, in which Russian President Vladimir Putin was slated to congratulate Trump on his victory, but aides told the Post it quickly turned into Trump “fawning” over Putin, and even apologizing for not calling him sooner.
  • However, one official said every one of Trump’s interactions with other leaders had a time limit before it would eventually devolve into an inappropriate interaction. 
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A bombshell whistleblower report that was revealed in September sparked the latest concerns over President Donald Trump’s contact with foreign leaders, but senior administration staffers have reportedly been horrified and unsurprised by Trump’s behavior in calls and public appearances. 

The whistleblower complaint centered on a July 25 phone conversation alleged Trump had acted inappropriately in pushing Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Former Vice President Joe Biden, who is also a 2020 hopeful, and his son.

In a new report from The Washington Post, 12 current and former White House officials described a chaotic atmosphere inside the administration as Trump bucked decorum. 

“People had gotten really numb to him blurting out something he shouldn’t have,” one former national security staffer told the Post.

But in addition to Trump’s free-wheeling manner inside the administration, staffers were apparently left “genuinely horrified” by Trump’s conduct on phone calls with various international leaders and on Twitter.

“There was a constant undercurrent in the Trump administration of [senior staff] who were genuinely horrified by the things they saw that were happening on these calls,” one former White House official told the Post. “Phone calls that were embarrassing, huge mistakes he made, months and months of work that were upended by one impulsive tweet.”

One such occasion was a call in January 2017, in which Russian President Vladimir Putin was slated to congratulate Trump on his victory, but aides told the Post it quickly turned into Trump “fawning” over Putin, and even apologizing for not calling him sooner.

“He was like, ‘Oh my gosh, my people didn’t tell me you wanted to talk to me,'” one person with direct knowledge of the call told the Post.

“We couldn’t figure out early on why he was being so nice to Russia,” a former senior administration official added.

And in another Putin call, Trump is said to have asked his Russian counterpart for advice on how to deal with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. These seem to be some of the earliest instances of Trump raising eyebrows with his admiration for the leader, which would later play out in public appearances like a high stakes summit in Helsinki in July 2018.

Read more: Trump reportedly fawned over Putin after their meeting and told aides the Russian leader was strong, smart, and cunning

Aides were also reportedly taken aback at Trump promising Saudi officials a spot in the G7 and ignoring human rights abuses in the Philippines that have been waged by President Rodrigo Duterte and killed thousands, but was lauded by Trump in April 2017 as an “unbelievable job on the drug problem.”

However, one official said every one of Trump’s interactions with other leaders had a time limit before it would eventually devolve into an inappropriate interaction. 

“You had two to three minutes max,” one former senior administration official said. “And then he was still usually going to say whatever he wanted to say.”

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