'The Fake News Media is Crazed': Trump Defends His Decision to Congratulate Putin on Election Win

| MAR 21, 2018 | 8:15 PM
Trump screenshot

On Wednesday, President Donald Trump blasted the media for the way it covered him congratulating Russian president Vladimir Putin, a decision Trump suggested helped relations between the two countries:

Trump said the “Fake News Media” wanted him to “excoriate” Putin amid concerns that his election was corrupt.

“They are wrong! Getting along with Russia (and others) is a good thing,” he said before contrasting himself with his predecessors whom, he said, failed to build a strong, bilateral relationship.

He framed his congratulations as part of a “PEACE THROUGH STRENGTH” diplomatic strategy that would help solve problems in North Korea, Iran, and other areas of the world.

Trump's congratulatory message reportedly betrayed the rather emphatic advice from his staff who wrote in all-caps “DO NOT CONGRATULATE” on Trump's briefing.

During her press briefing on Tuesday, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders appeared to defend Trump's decision.

The message came amid concern that Trump wasn't being tough enough on Russia after they meddled in the 2016 elections.

“What we do know is that Putin has been elected in their country and that's not something that we can dictate to them how they operate," she said when asked about the election.

Earlier this month, the Trump administration also imposed sanctions in retaliation for Russia's meddling.

But Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) complained that Trump was not acting like a leader when he congratulated Putin. “An American president does not lead the Free World by congratulating dictators on winning sham elections,” he tweeted on Tuesday.