Trump Thanks Putin for Expulsion of US Diplomats

'We're trying to cut down our payroll'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 11, 2017 1:07 AM CDT
President Trump speaks to reporters before a security briefing at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, NJ., Thursday, Aug. 10, 2017.   (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
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(Newser) – President Trump, perhaps taking the "glass-half-full" approach a little too far, thanked Vladimir Putin Thursday for his decision to expel hundreds of American diplomats in response to new sanctions on Russia. "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," Trump said at his Bedminster, NJ, golf club, per NPR. "There's no real reason for them to go back," Trump said. "I greatly appreciate the fact that we've been able to cut our payroll. ... We're going to save a lot of money."

Putin has ordered the expulsion of 755 American diplomats and technical staffers, leaving a total of 455 people in US diplomatic missions in Russia. While it wasn't clear whether Trump was being entirely serious, his remarks caused anger among the rank and file at the State Department, where Trump has proposed cutting the budget by 29%, Politico reports. "This is so incredibly demoralizing and disrespectful to people serving their country in harm's way," a senior diplomat says. (Trump also declared the opioid epidemic a "national emergency" and said his "fire and fury" warning to North Korea might not have been tough enough.)

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