Former US ambassador to Russia lambasts Trump for thanking Putin over expulsion of 755 diplomats

The former US Ambassador to Russia hit out at Donald Trump after he thanked Vladimir Putin for ordering the US to pull 755 of its diplomats out of Russia.

Michael McFaul, who served as ambassador from 2012-14, said that Mr Trump’s “flippant” remarks show he “does not understand diplomacy” and that “sarcasm doesn’t work in foreign policy”.

Commenting on the expulsion – seen as retaliation by the Kremlin for fresh US sanctions against Russia – Mr Trump expressed his gratitude to Mr Putin for business reasons, because the measure allowed the US to “cut down our payroll.”

“I want to thank him, because we’re trying to cut down our payroll, and as far as I’m concerned I’m very thankful that he let go of a large number of people because now we have a smaller payroll,” Mr Trump told reporters at his Bedminster golf club in New Jersey.

Mr McFaul, now a professor at Stanford University, took the President to task on Twitter, and in his Washington Post column where he criticised the “flippant” comments and questioned the President’s true motivations for failing to condemn Russia.

“Trump just applauded cuts of 755 in Russian embassy. Maybe he should look to trim his own staff?” Mr McFaul said.

“You realise Mr President that the State Dept organises US delegations to GES [Global Entrepreneurship Summit] – those same people you just said were not needed in Russia. Our diplomats, professional staff, and military serving in Russia provide Washington with invaluable information about Russia,” he continued over a series of tweets.

“Imagine wanting to know less about Russia’s military modernization! That’s what Trump praised today. Imagine wanting to know less about Russian foreign policy intentions and plans!” Mr McFaul added.

“That’s what embassy personnel…

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