President Donald Trump said during his Monday press conference following the G7 Summit in France that he didn’t care whether or not it would be politically advantageous to invite Russia to return to the group.
Trump took a question from Yamiche Alcindor of “PBS Newshour,” who asked whether he was concerned that inviting Russia to return to the G7 — which will be held in the United States next year — would not play well for him politically. (RELATED: French President Emmanuel Macron Praises Melania Trump In G7 Wrap-Up)
“Why do you think it’s appropriate to invite Russia to the G7 given that they’ve meddled in the 2016 election? And are you worried that if Russia does come to the G7 that it might hurt you politically because it’s only going to be a couple of months before the 2020 election?” she asked.
“I don’t care politically. I really don’t. A lot of people don’t understand this,” Trump shrugged. “I ran one election, and I won. It happened to be for president. I don’t care politically. I’m going to run another election. I think I’m winning based on polls that we see, whether I win or not, I have to do the right thing. I don’t do things for political reasons.”
Trump went on to say that “a lot of people” felt that having Russia in the room could be better than having Russia outside the room, adding, “There were numerous people during the G7 that felt that way. And we didn’t take a vote or anything but we did discuss it, and my inclination is to say yes, they should be in.”
The president then turned to former President Obama, pointing out that Russia’s annexation of Crimea — which predicated the nation’s ejection from what was then the G8 — happened under Obama’s watch.
“President Putin outsmarted President Obama and I can understand how President Obama would feel. He wasn’t happy, and they’re not in for that reason,” Trump said. “I’m only thinking about the world and thinking about this country in terms of the G7, whether it’s G7 or G8. I think it would be better to have Russia inside the tent than outside the tent. Do we live either way? Yes, we live either way. Is it politically popular for me to say that? Possibly not. I think a lot of people would agree with me but possibly not.”
Trump shrugged again, repeating, “I do nothing for politics. I know a lot of you aren’t — you’re going to smile at that, I do nothing for Politics, I do what’s right and people like what I do. But I just do what’s right. If I wanted to go strictly by politics, I would probably poll that and possibly I’d say, ‘Oh, gee. I don’t want Russia in.'”