The remarks come as the US president is heading for a trip, which will include a visit to the United Kingdom, NATO summit and talks with Putin.
“So I have NATO, I have the UK which is in somewhat turmoil, and I have Putin. Frankly, Putin may be the easiest of them all. Who would think? Who would think? But the UK certainly has a, they have a lot of things going on,” Trump told reporters.
When asked whether Putin was “a friend or foe,” the US president said that he considered him “a competitor.”
“I really can’t say right now. As far as I’m concerned, he’s a competitor. I think that getting along with Russia, getting along with China, is a good thing,” Trump said.
Putin and Trump are expected to meet in Finland on July 16 to discuss bilateral ties and various issues on the international agenda, which will be their first full-fledged meeting since Trump’s taking office.
The meeting comes amid the months-long probes in the United States into allegations that Russia helped the Trump campaign in 2016. Moscow has repeatedly dismissed these claims, while Trump has denounced the probes as a “witch hunt.”
Moreover, the upcoming summit is accompanied by media reports citing US and EU sources who express concerns that Donald Trump could allegedly make disproportionate concessions to Russia on Crimea, Ukraine, and Syria, and be outplayed by Putin at the summit.
Trump UK Visit
Donald Trump will arrive in the UK next Friday, a day after a NATO summit in Brussels. His official visit is scheduled to last three days, during which he will meet UK Prime Minister Theresa May, the Queen, and US Ambassador to the UK Woody Johnson.
Asked whether British Prime Minister Theresa May would stay in power amid ongoing turmoil over Brexit plans, Donald Trump acknowledged the political crisis and added that it was up to the British people to decide whether May remains in power.
“That’s up to the people. I get along with her very well, I have a very good relationship,” Trump said.
The US president went on saying that he may speak with former UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson during his visit to Great Britain this week.
“Boris Johnson’s a friend of mine. He’s been very, very nice to me. Very supportive. And maybe we’ll speak to him when I get over there. I like Boris Johnson. I’ve always liked him,” Trump told reporters.
On Tuesday, Johnson resigned over the disagreements with UK Prime Minister Theresa May in relation to the Brexit plan, which the cabinet approved last week.
Trump said he had not spoken to May since Johnson resigned.
Mass anti-Trump rallies are expected to bring together about 50,000 people in central London when the US president kicks off his first official visit to the UK this week since taking office. Trump will reportedly try to avoid London to avoid embarrassment as anti-Trump campaigners also plan to launch a huge inflatable balloon of “baby Trump” into the sky above the capital.