Trump opens door to possible White House meeting with Putin
The Trump administration opened the door to a potential White House meeting between President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday, raising the possibility of an Oval Office welcome for Putin for the first time in more than a decade even as relations between the two powers have deteriorated.
The Kremlin said Monday that Trump had invited the Russian leader to the White House when they spoke by telephone last month. White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders responded that the White House was among “a number of potential venues” discussed. Both sides said they hadn’t started preparations for such a visit.
If it happens, Putin would be getting the honor of an Oval Office tete-a-tete for the first time since he met President George W. Bush at the White House in 2005. Alarms rang in diplomatic and foreign policy circles over the prospect that Trump might offer Putin that venue without confronting him about Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election or allegations that Russia masterminded the March 4 nerve agent attack on a former Russian double agent.
“It would confer a certain normalization of relations, and we’re certainly not in a normal space,” said Alina Polyakova, a foreign policy fellow at the Brookings Institution.