- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 21, 2018

President Trump slammed the media Wednesday for its “crazed” reaction to his congratulatory phone call to Russian President Vladimir Putin, saying it’s important to work with Russia on problems ranging from North Korea to Iran.

“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!” Mr. Trump tweeted. “Getting along with Russia (and others) is a good thing, not a bad thing.”

The call came after Mr. Putin won reelection to a second term on Sunday, in balloting that critics say was rigged.

Mr. Trump reportedly disregarded staff advice not to congratulate Mr. Putin on his victory, and White House chief of staff John F. Kelly is furious that someone in the White House leaked the president’s written guidance for the call. Some aides said Mr. Trump never saw the written directions for the call.

The president said Russia “can help solve problems with North Korea, Syria, Ukraine, ISIS, Iran and even the coming Arms Race.” He said he is working to establish cooperation with Moscow although his predecessors failed to do so.

“Bush tried to get along, but didn’t have the ‘smarts,’” Mr. Trump tweeted. “Obama and Clinton tried, but didn’t have the energy or chemistry (remember RESET). PEACE THROUGH STRENGTH!”

Then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton presented Russian officials with a large red “reset” button to symbolize the Obama administration’s effort to start over with relations with Moscow. The move was mocked by Russians as a clumsy gesture.

• Dave Boyer can be reached at dboyer@washingtontimes.com.

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