Trump Thanks Putin for Expelling US Diplomats from Russia: ‘Now We Have a Smaller Payroll’

By Melanie Arter | August 11, 2017 | 3:18pm EDT
President Donald Trump surrounded by National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster and Vice President Mike Pence (Screenshot of White House video)

( - President Donald Trump said that Russian President Vladimir Putin did him a favor by expelling hundreds of U.S. diplomats and staff from Russia, saying that the decision has actually saved the U.S. taxpayers money.

“I want to thank him because we're trying to cut down on payroll, and as far as I'm concerned, I'm very thankful that he let go of a large number of people, because now we have a smaller payroll,” Trump said.

“There's no real reason for them to go back. So I greatly appreciate the fact that they've been able to cut our payroll for the United States. We'll save a lot of money,” the president said.

As previously reported, Putin expelled 755 U.S. diplomats and staff last month in retaliation for new U.S. sanctions against Russia.

The U.S. had already seized two Russian facilities in New York and Maryland at the end of the Obama administration for interference in the 2016 election. It also expelled 35 Russian diplomats from the U.S. at the time.

Additionally, Russia said the United States’ use of two facilities in Russia would be suspended Aug. 1.

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