Mattis on press freak-out: ‘My God, he talked to Putin at a dinner. Give me a break.’
President Trump went over and had a dinner conversation with Putin at the G-20 summit, and some media outlets last week called it a “secret” meeting.(DoD Photo/U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Jette Carr)
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis on Friday told reporters that the press was making too much fuss over President Donald Trump talking to Russian President Vladimir Putin during a dinner at the G-20 summit earlier this month in Germany, which the media characterized as a “secret, undisclosed meeting.”
“My God, he talked to Putin,” Mattis told reporters at the Pentagon. “Give me a break.”
The Department of Defense published the transcript from when Mattis spoke to reporters on Friday.
“People do get up and go see their wife at dinner, and if they’re sitting next to the other country that just had a two-hour talk or whatever it was, of course they are going to talk,” Mattis told reporters.
“I’ve been to hundreds of these dinners, ladies and gentlemen, and you just walk around talking because you don’t want to be bored sitting there just eating your pâté de foie gras,” Mattis had said.
“If you watched me at dinner, you’d find me talking to some ne’er-do-wells, just the way I do business,” Mattis said. “You talk to people who agree, but mostly you try to talk to people who disagree with you when you’re in a social setting because that’s when you can probably get into more than superficial things.”
Some media outlets had a field day last week calling out President Trump for this “meeting.”
But the “meeting” outlets such as CNN referred to was an informal conversation held over the course of a G-20 dinner that was attended by dozens of people.