President-elect Donald Trump’s infatuation with Russian President Vladimir Putin continued unabated on Friday, just a day after Trump’s own country retaliated against Russian hacking during the U.S. election
On Friday afternoon, Trump took time out of his scheduled day of meetings at his Florida estate Mar-a-Lagoto call Putin “very smart” for the president’s response to sanctions imposed upon Russia by Obama on Thursday.
“Great move on delay (by V. Putin)—I always knew he was very smart!” Trump said in a tweet that is now pinned at the top of his profile.
The “delay” is in reference to Putin’s announcement on Friday that he would wait for the Trump administration to resolve a crisis over alleged Russian hacking in the presidential election.
“We will not create problems for U.S. diplomats,” Putin said in a statement, after Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that the country would expel 31 diplomats serving at the U.S. Embassy. “We will not expel anyone. We will not prohibit their families and children to use their usual vacation spots in the New Year’s holidays. Moreover, I am inviting all children of the U.S. diplomats accredited in Russia to the New Year’s and Christmas celebration in the Kremlin.”
He added that he looks forward to smoothing over relations between the two countries during Trump’s administration.
“While we reserve the right to respond, we will not drop to this level of irresponsible diplomacy, and we will make further steps to help resurrect Russian-American relations based on the policies that the administration of D. Trump will pursue,” Putin said in the statement.
The Kremlin also dismissed charges presented to President Obama by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the FBI, which blamed the Russian government for involvement in hacking attacks of the Democratic party during the election.
In response to the accusations, Obama declared on Thursday that 35 Russians were “persona non grata,” sanctioned two Russian intelligence agencies and published a list of the alleged hackers.
Trump’s tweet praising Putin for his actions in the diplomatic war is consistent with his positions over the last few days about the impending sanctions.
On Thursday night, Trump addressed the impending decision to impose sanctions while speaking to reporters outside Mar-a-Lago.
“I think we ought to get on with our lives,” the president-elect said with Don King by his side. “I think that computers have complicated lives very greatly, the whole you know age of computer has made it where nobody knows exactly what’s going on. We have speed, we have a lot of other things, but I’m not sure you have the security that you need.”
He added at the time that he had not spoken with senators like Lindsey Graham and John McCain who had called for sanctions.
After the sanctions actually came down, Trump released a vague statement that did not directly acknowledge alleged Russian involvement in the hacking but signaled that he was willing to hear more information.
“It’s time for our country to move on to bigger and better things,” the president-elect said in the statement. “Nevertheless, in the interest of our country and its great people, I will meet with leaders of the intelligence community next week in order to be updated on the facts of this situation.”
On a daily transition call with reporters on Friday morning, incoming White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said that Trump had no current plans to discuss the sanctions with Putin but that “The priority right now is for the president to get an update from the intelligence community.”