The White House announced Friday that President Donald Trump would sign new sanctions on Russia.
The sanctions were passed with near-unanimous votes in the House of Representatives and Senate in response to Russia's alleged meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential elections and its annexation of Crimea.
But the U.S. State Department described the new sanctions as an attempt to warm up to the country.
"The near unanimous votes for the sanctions legislation in Congress represent the strong will of the American people to see Russia take steps to improve relations with the United States. We hope that there will be cooperation between our two countries on major global issues and these sanctions will no longer be necessary," the State Department said.
But the statement ignited a backlash, with many pointing out the sanctions were meant to punish Russia.
@StateDept https://t.co/UH40M57R4F— Jennifer Hayden (@Jennifer Hayden)1501357256.0
@StateDept This is blatantly incorrect! We must get to the bottom of #TrumpRussia election rigging & money launderi… https://t.co/44nOg01xnc— T #SuburbanAntifa books, knitting, gardening (@T #SuburbanAntifa books, knitting, gardening)1501351393.0
@StateDept Are you drunk ? No, it's to punish Russia— Tis the Season to Wear a Mask 😷 (@Tis the Season to Wear a Mask 😷)1501351901.0
@StateDept All the screaming from the right that Obama overly politicized the DoS where are they now that trump has… https://t.co/xXc75KSi2E— No name (@No name)1501338871.0
@StateDept Written like something out of "1984" and not by an American. Odd.— Doreen ☮️ (@Doreen ☮️)1501347916.0
@StateDept Has there been a hostile takeover of the State Department by the writers at The Onion?— Biden won “BIGLY” (@Biden won “BIGLY”)1501341409.0
Even the government of Russia mocked the statement.
“The statement made by the @StateDept on July 29 regarding a new sanctions legislation approved by Congress cannot but raise eyebrows,” the Russian Embassy in Washington said. “Washington still doesn’t get the fact that pressure never works against @Russia, bilateral relations can hardly be improved by sanctions.”