President Trump blasted news reports of his private second meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G-20 summit in Hamburg, Germany on Tuesday, calling the stories “fake news.”
On Tuesday it was reported that Trump and Putin had a long conversation at a dinner for G-20 leaders and their spouses, with only a Russian translator present. The meeting, although in a public setting, was not initially reported by news outlets or disclosed.
In a tweet Tuesday night, Trump addressed the reports, calling them “sick” and saying that all G-20 leaders and spouses were invited to the dinner.
“Fake News story of secret dinner with Putin is ‘sick,’” Trump said. “All G 20 leaders, and spouses, were invited by the Chancellor of Germany. Press knew!”
In a second tweet, Trump blamed the news media for attempting to make an innocuous meeting between Putin and Trump look “sinister.”
“The Fake News is becoming more and more dishonest! Even a dinner arranged for top 20 leaders in Germany is made to look sinister,” he added.
A White House officialof a second meeting as false and said that the two leaders only had a brief conversation at the dinner.
“There was no ‘second meeting’ between President Trump and President Putin, just a brief conversation at the end of a dinner,” the official said Tuesday.
“The insinuation that the White House has tried to ‘hide’ a second meeting is false, malicious and absurd.”
The official added that the meeting was “perfectly normal” for two world leaders.
“It is not merely perfectly normal, it is part of a president’s duties, to interact with world leaders. Throughout the G-20 and in all his other foreign engagements, President Trump has demonstrated American leadership by representing our interests and values on the world stage,” the official said.
Trump arrived at the dinner just after 7 p.m. local time, according to a White House pool report. He didn’t depart the dinner venue until a few minutes before midnight.
The dinner was scheduled to last from 8:30 p.m. to 10 p.m., according to an official G-20 schedule.