President TrumpDonald TrumpHillicon Valley — Presented by Xerox — Twitter's algorithm boosts right-leaning content, internal study finds Ohio Democrat calls Vance an 'ass----' over Baldwin tweet Matt Taibbi says Trump's rhetoric caused public perception of US intelligence services to shift MORE dismissed some of his own aides during a phone call earlier this year with Russian President Vladimir Putin as "stupid people," The New York Times reported Monday.
The Times, citing a source with direct knowledge of Trump's phone call in March, reported that the Russian president lamented that some White House officials tried to stop the conversation from even happening.
“Those are stupid people; you shouldn’t listen to them,” Trump responded, according to the Times.
The comment came in the same call in which Trump congratulated Putin on his reelection, despite warnings from his national security advisers not to do so after international observers said the Russian election was full of evidence of fraud and intimidation.
Trump has drawn criticism from members of both parties since taking office for his hesitance to speak out against Putin and Russia, particularly over its attempts to interfere in the 2016 U.S. election.
The president also caused a stir when he suggested prior to last month's Group of Seven summit that Russia should be readmitted to the group. Russia was expelled in 2014 after it annexed Crimea from Ukraine.
Trump is set to meet with Putin next Monday in Helsinki. The summit will come at the end of Trump's weeklong trip to Europe, which includes stops in Brussels for the NATO summit and in the United Kingdom.
During a rally last week in Montana, Trump dismissed concerns over his meeting with Putin, saying the Russian president is "fine."
"You know what? Putin’s fine. He’s fine. We’re all fine. We’re people," Trump told the crowd. "Will I be prepared? Totally prepared. I’ve been preparing for this stuff my whole life."