The White House said Monday that President Trump discussed a possible meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the near future, suggesting the White House as a “potential venue” for the summit.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders released a statement on Monday in response to reports from the Kremlin that Trump had invited Putin to a meeting at the White House, but had yet to begin any preparations for the potential visit.
“As the President himself confirmed on March 20, hours after his last call with President Putin, the two had discussed a bilateral meeting in the ‘not-too-distant future’ at a number of potential venues, including the White House,” Sanders said Monday. “We have nothing further to add at this time.”
If a Trump-Putin meeting does take place at the White House, it will mark the first time the Russian president visited 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue since the George W. Bush administration. Putin visited the White House in both November 2001 and September 2005. At the time, former President George W. Bush said, “this is a new day in the long history of Russian-American relations, a day of progress and a day of hope.”
The telephone conversation between Trump and Putin took place on March 20. Trump congratulated Putin on winning the Russian presidential election two days earlier, despite warnings from his National Security Council suggesting he “not congratulate” Putin.
“I called President Putin of Russia to congratulate him on his election victory (in past, Obama called him also.) The Fake News Media is crazed because they wanted me to excoriate him. They are wrong! Getting along with Russia (and others) is a good thing, not a bad thing….” Trump tweeted a day after his phone call.
“They can help solve problems with North Korea, Syria, Ukraine, ISIS, Iran and even the coming Arms Race,” Trump tweeted, adding, “Bush tried to get along, but didn’t have the ‘smarts.’ Obama and Clinton tried, but didn’t have the energy of chemistry (remember RESET.) PEACE THROUGH STRENGTH.”
Both the White House and the Kremlin have confirmed that neither government has begun to arrange a potential meeting between the two leaders.
Putin aide Yuri Ushakov told Russian news agencies on Monday that their government did not have time to begin to schedule a meeting before the U.S. joined Britain and more than two dozen allies in sanctioning Russia over the poisoning of a Russian ex-spy in England.
Fox News’ Rich Edson, John Roberts and The Associated Press contributed to this report.