Donald Trump caught everyone off guard when he thanked Vladimir Putin on Thursday for expelling 755 U.S. diplomats in retaliation for recent sanctions levied against Russia. The normal response from a head of state would be some sort rebuke, but instead Trump just went on about how much money the U.S. is going to save now.
“I want to thank him because we’re trying to cut down on payroll,” Trump said. “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. There’s no real reason for them to go back. So I greatly appreciate the fact that they’ve been able to cut our payroll for the United States. We’ll save a lot of money.”
That’s an odd response, but White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders assures us that Trump was just making a funny.
“He was being sarcastic,” Sanders told the New York Times for a piece on Trump’s long history of insulting everyone on the planet except Putin.
So there, nothing to worry about. Just Trump making a joke, something he is famously good at. Who could forget such classic bits like insulting a disabled reporter and condoning police brutality? Everyone is just overreacting. Mike Pence and H.R. McMaster obviously thought the joke was hilarious.
Please ignore the fact that Trump never actually answered the question about what he thinks of Russia’s counter-sanctions.