One day after signing the Russia sanctions bill, with a long signing statement complaining about it, President Trump is still critical of the bill, today declaring it to have put US-Russia relations at “an all time, very dangerous low.”
Trump is not wrong in that regard, as US-Russia ties have been progressively worsening in the past couple of years, and this latest bill led Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev to warn that the US had effectively started an all-out trade war.
Yet President Trump’s declaration that this situation is all Congress’ fault rings hollow, since the White House has insisted for weeks that Trump would sign the bill, and he in fact did so, despite having such a huge problem with it.
Indeed much of the Trump Administration is continuing to steer into the Russia conflict at every opportunity, with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson blaming Russia for the worsening of ties, on the grounds that Russia retaliated against repeated US moves against them.
Trump’s own position is more in keeping with the position of improved relations he campaigned on, and with the reality of what’s driving growing tensions. At the same time, his talking points appear to stop just short of being willing to take any concrete action to resist Congress on the matter, or even to not overtly enable them by signing problematic sanctions bills.