One of the main foreign policy goals set out by President Trump after his election in November was a normalization of US-Russia relations. While that hope appears a distant memory now, with US and Russian officials seemingly agreeing that ties are worse than ever, it apparently never got better in the first place.
In an interview today, Russian President Vladimir Putin reported that the level of trust with the United States on a day-to-day, working basis began getting worse after Trump took office. This is a surprise, as the Kremlin had welcomed Trump’s election and was expressing high hopes for improved relations.
Of course, those improved ties never came to pass, with the administration abandoning plans to ease sanctions on Russia shortly thereafter, and backed off more or less all the stated plans of shifting US policy in Syria toward a focus on ISIS, which culminated last week in the US attacking the Syrian government outright.
While the Obama Administration of the last few years was every bit as hostile toward Russia as the Trump Administration is, they never presented themselves as anything but hostile. Putin’s comments suggest Russia had high hopes for rapprochement with Trump, and the dramatic reverse by the new administration had badly eroded Russia’s trust in anything they say.