President Donald Trump’s ideas about stopping the joint military exercises between the United States military and South Korea may have come from Russian President Vladimir Putin.
A Wall Street Journal puff piece from Jan. 2018 walked through 50 staffers who gave insights into how to deal with the president after his first year in office. Nested within that story, however, was a story about the conversation Trump had with Putin at the G-20 summit last summer.
At the time, Trump was reportedly angry with Congress for inserting itself into his decision to impose sanctions against Russia.
“Around the same time, Mr. Trump had an idea about how to counter the nuclear threat posed by North Korea, which he got after speaking to Russian President Vladimir Putin,” The Journal wrote of the plan.
“If the U.S. stopped joint military exercises with the South Koreans, it could help moderate Kim Jong Un’s behavior,” the report continued. Tuesday, Trump announced exactly that.
“Defense Secretary Jim Mattis used an approach that aides say can work: ‘He says, ‘Your instincts are absolutely correct,’ and then gets him [the president] to do the exact opposite of what his instincts say,'” The Journal wrote, citing a person close to the White House.
“Mr. Trump dropped the idea, although he has ordered aides to give the exercises a low profile, eliminating press releases and briefings about them,” the report closed.
The U.S. had previously said it would never make such a move because the military exercises were part of its military alliance with South Korea and served as a deterrent to Kim Jong-un.
During the 2016 presidential debate, Trump was accused of being a puppet of the Russian president.
“No puppet. No puppet,” Trump said to Clinton. “You’re the puppet”