Following the abrupt cancellation of Donald Trump’s G20 meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Russian state media roasted him. Known for seamlessly adhering to the Kremlin’s viewpoint, the troupe of Putin’s cheerleaders took turns laying into the president of the United States.
In an opinion piece for the Russian publication “Arguments and Facts,” Veronika Krasheninnikova, “Director General of the Institute for Foreign Policy Studies & Initiatives, Advisor to the Director General of 'Russia Today' and a member of the Kremlin-appointed Russian Public Chamber,” says that in light of the canceled meeting, Russia can now give up on the U.S. and “should have never trusted Trump to begin with.”
Krasheninnikova opines that “as long as Trump is in power, nothing positive can happen in the relations between the United States and Russia,” concluding that “Trump is a rock hanging around Russia's neck."
Host of the Russian state TV show “60 Minutes,” Evgeny Popov, angrily criticized Trump’s abrupt cancellation: “Just a few minutes earlier he said that now is a good time to meet... What kind of a man is this – first he says it will happen, then it won’t – are we just supposed to wait until he gets re-elected to start communicating with America? This is just foolishness, he seems to be an unbalanced person.”
Popov argues that Trump obviously couldn’t care less about the Kerch Strait incident and canceled the meeting solely because of the latest guilty plea by his former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, which alleged Trump was trying to cut deals with the leadership in Moscow long after he started his path to the presidency.
Panelists on the same show point out the folly of those in Russia who celebrated Donald Trump’s election by toasting with Champagne. “Trump was never our friend – never!” exclaims Popov. Hosts and participants of “60 Minutes” previously made a habit of repeatedly boasting: “Trump is ours!” In light of their current commentary, it appears that “ours” was used in context of control or possession, not friendship.
“Rossiya 1” news anchor Kirill Kleymenov pulled no punches, asserting that by canceling his G20 meeting with Vladimir Putin, "Donald Fredovych Trump" subjected the world to a roller coaster ride, everyone in the Trump administration needs tranquilizers, and Donald Trump himself could use a teleprompter—after all, he's "pushing 80." (Trump is 72.)
The addition of “Fredovych” means “the son of Fred,” but could also be interpreted as a double entendre, hinting at the disloyal Fredo Corleone who disappointed “the Godfather.” Kleymenov threw in a few more barbs about the age of the U.S. president, claiming that Donald Trump is so incoherent that he had to have "45" embroidered on his cuffs, just so he wouldn’t forget he is President number 45.
The co-host of the Russian state TV show “60 Minutes,” Olga Skabeeva said the American President is so unpopular that “blimps of Trump in diapers are popping up in every city and country he visits." State TV show “Vesti” described Trump as a lonesome figure at the G20, looking for someone to talk to – and finding his daughter, Ivanka.
Vladimir Soloviev, the host of "The Evening with Vladimir Soloviev," declared that Putin—not Trump—is the leader of the free world.
The Russian state and its media, which operate in perfect lockstep with the Kremlin, kept keying off their supposed shock at the cancellation of the meeting between Presidents Trump and Putin.
“This is far from an ordinary event,” reported TASS – Russia’s largest news agency. Beforehand, Russian state media was convinced that the meeting was in the bag for the Kremlin. The Washington correspondent of Russia’s state-TV channel Rossiya-24, Valentin Bogdanov, mocked U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley’s statement, wherein she criticized Russia’s aggression against Ukraine after it opened fire on Kiev’s naval vessels and seized three, along with their crews, last month.
Bogdanov smugly noted: "She must have an unstable connection to the Captain's Bridge, since the owner of the White House didn't blame Russia." Semyon Bagdasarov, director of the Moscow-based Center for Middle Eastern and Central Asian Studies, went even further, stating that Russia “should spit on Trump and the United States.”
Trump remains willfully ignorant or blissfully unaware of the Kremlin’s disdain, stating: “I think we have a very good relationship... So I’ll meet with him [Putin] at the appropriate time.”
On the other hand, Putin sticks to his trademark mixture of trolling, disinformation and braggadocio – a communication strategy eagerly adopted by the Russian state media. During his press conference at the G20, Putin mockingly claimed that "two little boats gifted to Ukraine by the U.S. couldn't even get through the Kerch Strait."
In reality, two U.S. Coast Guard patrol boats the United States is transferring to Ukraine are scheduled to be shipped in fall of 2019. They are currently stationed in the Baltimore, Maryland, undergoing maintenance, upgrades, outfitting and training of Ukrainian navy crews.
Leaving aside the fact that the Ukrainian vessels in question were not of American origin, Putin’s commentary lays bare his unquestionable contempt for the United States and its leader.
The Kremlin and the state media admittedly see Trump as a useful tool in the enemy camp, undermining the transatlantic unity, NATO, the image of the United States and the West in general.
The joint press conference in Helsinki was widely perceived as a propaganda victory for Putin. Appearing on the Russian state TV show “60 Minutes,” a member of the Russian Federation Council Oleg Morozov empathetically opined that a similar event in Argentina “would place Trump – even if he is our agent – in a very awkward situation.”
Whether or not it’s awkward for Trump, Putin is not about to let go of an opportunity for another press-free staff-free expert-free meeting like the still-mysterious face to face in Finland. The U.S. reportedly offered to continue a working dialogue with Russian counterparts through John Bolton and others.
In response, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov asserted that the U.S. needs a Putin-Trump tête-à-tête just as much as Russia. Putin won’t take no for an answer. So Trump is likely, still, to say yes.