It’s difficult to tell who was trying harder to avoid whom, when Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin all but pretended they didn’t know each other at the opening of the G20 summit. But the telling moment came when Putin then walked over and high fived the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, a clear show of excited solidarity between two murderous leaders who each hold puppet strings over the “President of the United States.” Ultimately, however, the real upshot came when Putin issued a statement about his canceled G20 meeting with Trump.
Moments after Michael Cohen revealed in court that Donald Trump had been plotting with Russian election riggers to build Trump Tower Moscow during the election, Trump announced that he was canceling his planned one-on-one meeting with Putin at the G20. There was no doubt as to the real reason, but Trump used the convenient cover story of Russia’s recent military aggression against Ukraine. It turns out Putin wasn’t happy with that explanation.
Putin’s spokesperson announced during the G20 summit that Donald Trump had more likely canceled the meeting due to “the U.S. domestic political situation” – which was a clear reference to the developments in the Trump-Russia scandal. Here’s the thing.
Putin knowns that the best way he could help Trump right now would be to go along with the cover story that this was about Ukraine. Instead, Putin decided to deliver a dagger by pointing out that Trump, rather obviously, canceled the meeting because of his own worsening scandals. It’s now clear that Putin isn’t even willing to provide Trump any cover on these things. And if Putin isn’t willing to prop Trump up anymore, then it signals the end of Trump. Putin must now be calculating that he’s personally better off if Trump sinks than swims.