Trump: We’ll put sanctions on Russia ‘as soon as they very much deserve it’
President Trump on Wednesday said his administration would levy additional sanctions on Russia “as soon as they very much deserve it.”
The comments, made at a joint press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, capped a four-day stretch of confusion over whether the Trump administration would punish Moscow for its alleged role in a recent chemical attack in Syria.
Trump began to walk away from the microphone, but returned to answer a shouted question about the sanctions. He then went on to tout his record on confronting Russia.
“There has been nobody tougher on Russia than Donald Trump,” the president said, restating one of his common talking points.
He noted that he has helped raise money for NATO, as well as touted a recent military strike in Syria that was carried out in coordination with France and the United Kingdom.
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haleysaid on Sunday that additional sanctions against Russia would be announced as soon as Monday in response to its alleged role in a recent chemical attack in Syria.
However, the White House said Monday that Trump had decided not to impose sanctions, contradicting Haley’s comments.
Haley quickly fired back, saying “With all due respect, I don’t get confused.”
Kudlow later apologized, but the incident sparked speculation that all of the Trump administration was not on the same page regarding its policy toward Russia.
Trump has faced criticism from lawmakers for being hesitant at times to speak out forcefully against Russia and Russian President Vladimir Putin.