President Donald Trump was upset about a propaganda video released by Russian President Vladimir Putin in March showing off the country’s “invincible” new nuclear-powered missile capable of hitting anywhere in the world, Axios reports ahead of the leaders’ summit.
But, “clearly he wanted us to see that,” former CIA and NSA Director Michael Hayden told CNN in March.
“This really feels like Kim Jong Un rhetoric and stage craft here,” he added. “There’s no logic” to explain Trump’s silence on the video, said Hayden, and “I don’t know what created the dynamic but we saw it during the campaign. It may just be at a point where it’s a thing for him now that in order for him to say something about Putin now would be implicit admission that he should’ve been saying other things and he just won’t do it.”
Privately, though, Trump was furious and told aides Putin attempt to play up to the crowds for his election was “over the line.”
In a phone call on March 20, the president lashed out at Putin and told him he thought it was “outrageous” he would put out the nuclear weapons video.
Trump said, “I called up Theresa [May] and Angela [Merkel] and they agree with me,” the source told Axios.
“And the other day, I saw you say you need a new arms deal,” Trump said according to the same source. “So I guess that was just election talk. I’m glad to hear you weren’t serious about it.”
Then, the U.S. president added: “I’ve already increased defense spending, modernized our nuclear weapons…We can do more, so if you want to do an arms race you’ll lose.”