Trump says he would ‘certainly’ invite Putin to attend next year’s G-7 summit

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President Trump on Monday said he would “certainly” invite Russian President Vladimir Putin to attend next year’s Group of Seven (G-7) summit when it’s hosted by the United States.

“Would I invite him? I would certainly invite him. Whether or not he could come psychologically, I think that’s a tough thing for him to do,” Trump said during a press conference at the close of this weekend’s G-7 summit in France.

{mosads}Russia was expelled in 2014 from what was then the G-8 over its annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula. It has faced additional international backlash for interfering in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and poisoning a former Russian spy living in the United Kingdom.

Trump has previously floated readmitting Russia to the group.

“Whether you like it or not, and it may not be politically correct, but we have a world to run,” Trump said ahead of last year’s G-7 meeting. “And in the G-7, which used be the G-8, they threw Russia out. They should let Russia come back in because we should have Russia at the negotiating table.”

Trump claimed this weekend that multiple other G-7 attendees signaled they would support readmitting Russia to the group. But he did not provide any names or specific accounts, and other world leaders have said Russia rejoining would be contingent on deescalating its involvement in Ukraine.

On Monday, he said it would be better to include Russia, even if it comes at a political cost.

“I think it would be better to have Russia inside the tent than outside the tent,” Trump said. “Do we live either way? Yes, we live either way. Is it politically popular for me to say that? Possibly not.”

The United States will serve as host of next year’s annual gathering of world leaders. As head of the host nation, Trump can invite heads of state who are not part of the G-7.

Trump added that he was unsure if Putin would accept an invitation because “he’s a proud person” and may not feel comfortable rejoining a group that he was cast out of.

Trump has blamed former President Obama for Russia’s annexation of Crimea, repeating during Monday’s press conference that his predecessor was “outsmarted” by Putin.

Pressed by a reporter on why he kept repeating that line when many viewed it as a misleading characterization of events, Trump said he would have owned up to it if Crimea was annexed during his administration and stated again that he felt Obama was “outsmarted.”

Trump said Monday he’s giving strong consideration to holding next year’s G-7 summit at his Doral golf resort near Miami.

Tags Donald Trump Florida France G-7 summit Miami Russia Ukraine Vladimir Putin

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