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Trump thanks Putin for expelling US diplomats from Russia because it cuts the government payroll

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I kid, I kid.

Oh wait I don’t:

BEDMINSTER, N.J. — President Trump said here Thursday that he is “very thankful” to Russian President Vladimir Putin for expelling hundreds of U.S. diplomats from Russia because he said it helps him cut the U.S. government’s payroll.

Addressing for the first time Putin’s decision late last month that the U.S. Embassy and consulates in Russia would have to cut 775 diplomatic and technical staff, Trump told reporters that he sees no reason for them to continue working in Russia.

“I want to thank him because we’re trying to cut down our payroll and as far as I’m concerned I’m very thankful that he let go a large number of people because now we have a smaller payroll,” Trump said. “There’s no real reason for them to go back. I greatly appreciate the fact that we’ve been able to cut our payroll of the United States. We’re going to save a lot of money.”

Good job America.

Also, her emails.

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  • Bloix

    Thank you, sir, may I have another?

    • waspuppet

      Putin could save some money too — he clearly doesn’t need to hire an ambassador to the US.

  • Trump Management 101: kiss up, kick down.

    • ema

      “I’m very thankful that he let go a large number of people”

      And, apparently, allow a hostile foreigner to make State Department personnel decisions.

      • jim, some guy in iowa

        no doubt someone got to this downthread, but isn’t it strange a Big Man who made “You’re fired” his catchphrase on TV ends up not only relying on someone else to do his dirty work but then being publicly “thankful”?, I mean, jesus, talk about low energy

        • Bugboy

          Typical bully’s characteristic, that he’s really a coward inside, who is overcompensating for his insecurities.

      • MikeG

        Trump’s boss fired them, so now he doesn’t have to.
        Followed by lickspittle praise of said boss for his brilliant decision.

        • I remember hearing that he didn’t even make the decisions on whom to fire on his crappy TV show for the most part, and that the only exception was when Penn Jillette refused to endorse a potential shitgibbon run for the presidency. I have plenty of disagreements with Penn, but he definitely comes out looking like an excellent judge of character here.

          • Hypersphrericalcow

            My impression of competition-based reality TV shows is that the producers/editors make all the important decisions, including who stays and who goes. So it wouldn’t surprise me that they would be Svengali for Teh Donald, and he would just fire whoever they told him to fire.

            • Trump’s always been nothing but a flim-flam creep.

          • wjts

            Penn Jillette also coined the phrase “groovy sexy hell-panic” to describe the Jack Chick aesthetic, so he’s not totally useless.

          • ForkyMcSpoon

            I dunno, I think it’s setting the bar a bit low to say that recognizing Trump would be a bad president makes you an “excellent judge of character”.

            Penn Jilette might be, but you can’t say based on that…

          • Linnaeus

            Charlie Sheen told an interesting anecdote on the Graham Norton Show about Trump. Even Sheen, who certainly has had issues with judgement himself, could see what a charlatan (the word he used, actually) Trump is.

    • dave mustaine

      No, it’s good: he’s “running the country like a business.” I always wondered what that meant. Now I know.

  • NicknotNick

    I feel like we’re decompensating swiftly, to use the language of pathological psychiatry . . .

    Here is someone desperately trying to point out where the path of decency and common sense lies:

    Tapper broke in to quote previous statements from Humphrey where he alleged “his sick mind and reckless conduct could consume the lives of millions.” Tapper noted that Humphrey is not a doctor or a psychiatrist or a psychologist.

    “Very few members of Congress are psychiatrists or physicians and even fewer members of the cabinet,” Humphrey retorted. “Yet, the Constitution empowers them to find a president unfit to carry out the duties and powers by virtue of physical or mental impairment. So, setting up a standard that one must be a psychiatrist to come to some judgment about this mountain of empirical evidence that the president has a sick psyche is to set up a false standard. We as Americans are stewards of our children’s or family’s safety and future, and we must, in my view now come to some conclusions about the president’s fitness.”

    • NicknotNick

      By the way, how do I use italics or bold font? I’ve seen other people put them in, but can’t find the function myself.

      • Owlbear1

        For italics(removes spaces) : start with “” end with “
        For Bold start with end with

        • NicknotNick

          OK, I’ll try it

          It works, thanks! However, doesn’t seem to on the edit.

          • wjts

            Take out the spaces.

            Also, and work for italics.

            • NicknotNick

              So THAT is what owlbear1’s cryptic ‘removes spaces’ meant . . .

              • Owlbear1

                Yeah, everybody hates my documentation.

                ;)~

                • Howard_Bannister

                  I prefer using & lt ; and gt to give examples that look positively live. But all that extra work just to be clear!!

                • Pseudonym

                  Me too: <b>like this</b>

                • Howard_Bannister

                  …needs work. :P

        • sigaba

          I prefer the for bold, because I’m a masochist.

      • DJ JAZZY JOEL
        • Robbert

          test test test
          test

    • Lurking Canadian

      Mrs. Krabappel, something is wrong with the Independent Thought Alarm, again! How did this Humphrey guy get on TV?

      • sigaba

        “Willie, remove the colored chalk from the classrooms.”

        “Aye WARNED YAE!”

    • Damn right. No psychiatrists back in 1775.

      • Tige Gibson

        No climate scientists either.

      • To be fair, he’s referring to the 25th Amendment process here, and there *were* psychiatrists in 1967.

  • tsam100

    I’m glad you pissed on my leg. I WAS HOT ANYWAY.

  • aab84

    Can we all just pretend we’ve already done the next 24 hours of Trump aides saying he was joking and get straight to Trump loudly insisting that he 100% meant it and actually wishes Putin would attack Berlin so we can get rid of our diplomats there too?

    • NicknotNick

      No, it would be wrong to try and skip the horror, it’s meant to be savoured.

      Right now we’re in the phase where Gorka, the imbecilic Hungarian Nazi goon with a fake degree publicly insults the Secretary of State for trying to dial down the crisis. However, by tomorrow, we’ll probably look back on this as a halcyon moment of good common sense.

        • Shalimar

          “Ties to”? Wasn’t he a member? He doesn’t have “ties.” He’s a fucking Nazi.

          • jmwallach

            You go to one rally and all of a sudden you’re Martin Bormann. He may have been wearing that uniform as a laugh, like Prince Harry.

            • Shalimar

              For 20 years?

          • Tige Gibson

            What sort of ties? Like being a member of Hydra or Feminism(TM)?

  • SomeTreasonBrewing

    I don’t think Donald Trump is living up to the “spirit” of anyone’s conception of a competent executive.

    • To be fair, a Ringwraith is a kind of spirit.

  • scott bates

    Putin is is testifying at the EEO hearing?

  • Warren Terra

    Part of Tillerson’s idea when he pushes to reduce the government payroll – the same idea that has us with no nominee at State to be in charge of proliferation, and no ambassador to S Korea – is that a smaller number of civil servants can perform the function currently provided by a larger number; on this basis, I’m uncertain:

    1) Is Putin supporting this mission, in that by expelling 700+ of the 300-or-so US diplomats in Russia he’s showing us 300-or-so can do the scapegoat work of 700 or more?

    2) Or is Putin impeding this mission, because he’s showing us we really don’t have a sufficient diplomatic corps, we don’t have enough people to get expelled?

  • Gosh, isn’t it strange that the Russia story just won’t die away? Can’t imagine what keeps bringing it to the front of the newscasts.

    I keep trying not to be surprised by how crazy things are getting. Oh, Putin keeps a (very small) jar on his desk containing Trump’s testicles? Ho hum, imagined that last week. Trump has agreed to sell the country to Russia for 16 rubles? Please, that was a gag on NCIS last week…

    • so-in-so

      The testicals on Putin’s desk aren’t Trump’s yet , but he knows his will replace them if he talks back.

  • humanoidpanda

    I am ready to be pelted by tomatoes, or be denounced a Russian agent but.. if you ignore everything else Trump said about the Russian affair, this is actually pretty deft rhetoric. Putins counter sanctions are weak tea and are indications of his very limited resources, and highlighting that fact is not a bad idea.

    • NicknotNick

      Yeah, that’s possibly true, except if you’re Putin and know exactly what you have hanging over Trump it probably comes off like whistling past the graveyard.

    • Yixing’s Fluffer

      The issue is Trump never utters a single insult when speaking of Putin or Russia. Literally anyone else gets trashed, and we know the man is not naturally capable of that kind of self-control.

      • humanoidpanda

        The thing is that coming from anyone else, this is indeed a finely calibrated insult ,playing to the deep Russian fear that they don’t matter. But this is Trump, not anyone else

        • fellenst

          It can just as easily be read as a way for Trump to save face, so that he’s still “winning” if he makes no response. And even if it was intended as deft rhetoric on the international stage, it’s still incredibly dumb given the current domestic climate re: Trump and Russia.

          • humanoidpanda

            But.. we imposes rough sanctions on Russia ( really, the Russian elite is freaked out by them). Putin responded by an extremely weak gesture. There is no real need to retaliate here.

            • fellenst

              Fair, I don’t really know what (if any) response would be expected from Trump. But it’s hard for me to see it in that light given his other (lack of) responses to Russian aggression. I’d also just note that a subtle insult and a blundering idiot that doesn’t know he’s being insulting can sound pretty similar.

            • fellenst

              I wonder if the video of this statement changes your mind at all? He doesn’t really seem to be joking.

              • wjts

                I don’t think the panda is arguing that aaaactually this is a really clever bit of diplomatic gamesmanship, just that it could be if another, less incompetent, president had said it.

                • humanoidpanda

                  Yep. And it could be that Trumps genuine instinct for bullying served him right this time..

                • wjts

                  Maybe with regards to Russia, but I think it sounds stupid to many domestic ears (“Thanks to Japan, America will now save millions of dollars on battleship maintenance annually.”), so it’s probably a net negative.

                • postmodulator

                  I hereby steal the “battleship maintenance” joke.

                • Its never a good idea to offend and enrage another country, especially one with nukes.

    • Joe Paulson

      “if you ignore everything else Trump said about the Russian affair”

      That’s a fun approach.

    • Mellano

      No, ignoring everything else Trump said about his relationship with Putin’s government, it’s a ten year old’s misconception that obstinacy at all times is clever (aka, argumentum ad Fox News).

    • Jay B.

      Then why wouldn’t you just say that? “These counter-sanctions are done on behalf of Putin’s inner circle, are counter-productive, we would prefer to work through channels to blah, blah, blah, recognizing that Russia is a vital and important country, blah, blah, blah.”

      This third grade playground bullshit is just more amateur hour clown time.

      • humanoidpanda

        Because, again if we had a competent president, it is sometimes usefully to remind a two bit bully like Putin that he is a two bit bully.

        • Trump is a two-bit bully, but Putin is not so fake and flimsy. He got Trump elected president, and probably has a lot of repugs senators & reps on his payroll or blackmail list.

    • Daniel Elstner

      The problem is that it isn’t in jest. Trump does in fact believe that leaving half the government unstaffed is a good idea. The whole plan is to drown the government in the bathtub.

    • Pseudonym

      A more properly calibrated insult might be to note that Russia stands to lose more by expelling US diplomats than the US does. This just comes off as silly, making the US look dumb for having the diplomats in the first place.

      • humanoidpanda

        I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s what ” the adults” wanted Trump to say, but then he garbled it in his diseased brain …

    • ExpatJK

      The broken Trump clock is finally right at a particular time in the day, is what you’re saying.

      • Robbert

        More than wrt this case, that time struck when he sounded off at Mitch McConnell for the latter’s “excessive expectations” comment. Hey Mitch, weren’t you the one who said Obamacare would be repealed on the first day of the Trump administration? Wasn’t it your idea to pass two reconciliation bills in one year, with healthcare having to come first? Was it really an “excessive expectation” on Trump’s part that you would do what you promised him you’d do?

    • rewenzo

      No, even if Russia had never been an issue, it’s still a phenomenally stupid thing to say and not at all a good burn because:

      (1) Putin expelling 750 diplomats does not cut the State Department’s payroll unless Trump actually fires the 750 diplomats. They just get sent home. So it’s a non sequitur.
      (2) Unless Trump plans on actually firing the 750 diplomats for being expelled, which would be a pretty dumb and not at all defiant reaction to having your diplomats expelled by a foreign state.
      (3) Why would you insult your own diplomatic corps after they’ve just been sacrificed due to your policy? Could you imagine the reaction if Obama had said this about cutting payroll at the consulate in Benghazi?

      • humanoidpanda

        Fair enough. The way Trump actually said is terrible. A comment to the account that the only effect this has on the US is it doesn’t have to pay the paychecks of the Russian employees who got fired for no good reason would have been appropriate .

  • “I TOTALLY WANTED THAT TO HAPPEN!”

    i remember those days. when i was 10.

  • Dr. Ronnie James, DO

    Thank you, sir, may I have another?

  • Yixing’s Fluffer

    “I just want to say, as I’m contractually obligated, that I think Putin is a great guy, terrific guy. NOT LIKE THAT USELESS DEADBEAT MITCH MCCONNELL!!!”

  • HugeEuge

    Who comes after SecState in the line of succession to the Presidency? Because we’d be much better off if we laid off everyone from SecState on up.

    • Steven Mnuchin at Secretary of Treasury
      then
      Mattis at State
      Sessions at “Justice”

      • HugeEuge

        Turtles all the way down in other words, with the exception of Mattis (at Defense) who seems both sane and competent.

        I find myself thinking about “President Cruz” the way Tony Soprano must have felt when Little Carmine says to him something to the effect of “you never thought that you’d want to see me taking the reins of the family.”

        • Gwai Lo, MD

          Military rule seems preferable. I finally understand the appeal.

        • DAS

          That “Mad Dog” Mattis is the sane one says a lot about this administration. Also, if Mattis’ nickname weren’t “Mad Dog”, Trump probably wouldn’t have tapped him.

      • Mellano

        IIRC Obama appointed the Republican former failed Procter & Gamble CEO when crappy service at the VA became a high-profile story briefly during his second term.

        Weird not only that Trump would keep on an Obama hire, but that he’d pass up a walking talking point and keep the more competent one.

      • BiloSagdiyev

        I was pleasantly surprised by the VA appointment, too. I haven’t caught any real whiff of wingnut or a-hole off of the situation at all. I assume this was all a happy accident, but aother theory is that this is a agency that pleases (and employs) a lot of GOP voters.

  • lodger

    The people who have dedicated their lives to protecting U.S. interests overseas are getting at least one message loud and clear: their loyalty will never be repaid by this administration. DJT will sell them out at a moment’s notice, for any reason or no reason at all.

  • Unemployed_Northeastern

    Make America Great Again Grovel to Putin.

    #MAGP

    • MikeG

      Moscow’s Assholes Governing America (MAGA)

      • Unemployed_Northeastern

        I’ll admit it, that’s better than mine.

  • Mellano

    CLEVELAND, OH — Dan Gilbert said here Thursday that he is “very thankful” to Miami Heat President Pat Riley for luring Lebron James’s talents to South Beach because he said it helps him cut the Cavaliers’ payroll.

  • Owlbear1

    When did President Putinfluffer make Vlad head of the State Department’s HR office?

    I mean it’s been quite obvious for some time who is charge of hiring for the GOP but still…

    • Drew

      “Or whatever.” That’s how the president talks. Christ.

      • Unemployed_Northeastern

        It is rather unpresidented, isn’t it?

  • Paul Thomas

    Setting aside the idiocy here for a second, is this even factually accurate? I would not normally think that a reduction in force at a single embassy would cause someone to be laid off from government employment generally.

    • Perkniticky

      I heard that the people being ‘reduced’ were not diplomats, but local staff. So the only people losing jobs are Russians. Also I expect this would increase visa wait times exponentially. So it’s mainly Russians who are harmed. Typical Putin policy, really.

      • Gwai Lo, MD

        I think Gorbachev did this once. Volunteers worked the cafeteria.

      • Mellano

        Plus, now we know the ones who remained were the spies.

        Well, they were all spies, but that doesn’t really matter since Putin’s shiny new mole cut the State Department out of U.S. policy-making anyway.

        • Perkniticky

          If by spies you mean people who gather information and feed it back to the US, then ok, they are spies. But they are not gathering that information clandestinely, so by most people’s understanding of spying, they are not spies. Obviously you always have your CIA plants in the embassy, but there are only a few, and everyone knows who they are.

          • Mellano

            Oh, no, I was referring to the Russians staffing the embassy, most of whom I would expect are feeding information to the Kremlin both before and after, but especially after, this reduction in numbers.

            I mean, if actual CIA operatives are being forced out of Moscow by Putin, that may be a dumber and/or more malicious result from Trump than we’ve seen to date.

            • Perkniticky

              But that makes even less sense – why would the Russia government want to pull its spies from inside the US embassy? I mean, they’re likely not providing much useful information, since most of them probably work in places like motor pool and consular, but that would better than having no one.

              • Mellano

                Hence, “now we know the ones who remained were the spies.”

                • Perkniticky

                  But then the Russians are outing their own spies! I really thought Putin had more sense than this…. but who knows.

  • AlexSaltzberg

    They’re still on the payroll, right? There’s no way the State Department would just fire people if they were expelled from a country.

    • gyrfalcon

      I don't know about anyone else, but "if your host head of state decides to play silly buggers games with the embassy headcount, your career is DEAD" sure seems to ME to be a great way to encourage our foreign service officers to serve the best interests of our country.

    • Stella Barbone

      The former staff are mostly Russian nationals who work in support roles. The FS staff still working there are cleaning their own toilets now.

      • BiloSagdiyev

        Ah. That alone may be the whole point.

  • MariedeGournay

    I’m really surprised no one in the White House hasn’t just lost it and beat him with the bust of Churchill. He’s just so fucking … gauche.

  • Joe Paulson

    Trump’s answer was a tad tongue-in-cheek, but he gave no clear indication that he was joking or trying to be facetious in offering his gratitude to Putin.

    It might help, as someone said, if we forget everything else. THEN, this just looks snarky.

    • Apply Trump’s Razor. The absolutely stupidest explanation is the correct one.

  • MikeG

    Why the hell would we need any diplomatic staff in Russia?
    Trump just needs a phone line to get his orders directly from Putin.

    • Lurking Canadian

      I’m beginning to think he gets his orders through the fillings in his back teeth.

    • Thom

      So the Russian money-launderers can get visas to come to the US?

  • Also, her emails.

    Well, you have to be fair: we did "elect" an administration that has had exactly zero email scandals so far.

    • gyrfalcon

      If it’s what you say I love it especially later in the summer.

      • Bruce Baugh

        If ever I would leak you
        It wouldn’t be in summer
        No, no, in summer I never could post

    • Daniel Elstner

      Is that actually true? Wasn’t there a Pence email thing?

      • Monospaced font on this here blog is an indication of sarcasm. There’s also Uday’s meeting with the Russians as gyrfalcon alludes to above, and there was also a server in Trump Tower that was apparently communicating exclusively with a Russian bank, and I’m sure I’ve forgotten other examples from this shitstorm of an administration.

        • Daniel Elstner

          I know, but the sarcasm would work whether there was an email scandal or not.

          • Fair point. I was definitely thinking of Uday’s meeting when I wrote my first comment, though, and would’ve put in a reference to it if I’d had more time to write it.

            • farin

              But, see, that wasn’t an email scandal. That was a collusion with foreign agents and obstruction of justice scandal. Big difference.

              • ExpatJK

                Also, no risotto recipes were involved. Scandal rating: 0/10. Lame. Would not investigate further.

  • Gwai Lo, MD

    I’m with Trump on this one. After all, do YOU need a team of diplomats to talk with YOUR boss?

  • Charles S

    If Trump wasn’t so stupid and complicit this would actually have been some masterful trolling of Putin.

  • Crusty

    What a rotten fucking shit.

  • Hypersphrericalcow

    Can I sue Donald Trump to repair my desk, because there’s a forehead-shaped hole in it?

  • Bitter Scribe

    To paraphrase Reza Aslan: They haven’t been fired, genius, just expelled from Russia. They’re still on the State Dept.’s payroll.

    • postmodulator

      DIPLOMATS: Could you not? If he notices he might fire us, and I have something called a “mortgage.”

  • kdbart

    No difference what so ever.

  • cpinva

    so, is he planning on outsourcing State to one of his companies now?

  • Rob in CT

    It’s the “Deep State” vs. the Derp State. Fuck this timeline.

  • Technocrat

    Not sure if craven capitulation or clever trolling.

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