President Donald Trump on Thursday thanked Russian President Vladimir Putin for recently ordering the the United States must cut its diplomatic staff in Russia by 755 people.
“I want to thank him because we’re trying to cut down our 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 told reporters Thursday.
“There’s no real reason for them to go back. I greatly appreciate the fact that we’ve been able to cut our payroll of the United States,” the President added. “We’re going to save a lot of money.”
Putin’s order was in response to economic sanctions on Russia that Trump signed last month, which were meant to punish Russia for its alleged hacking of the 2016 Presidential election.
The Kremlin seized two U.S. diplomatic properties in Moscow – reportedly a summer house and storage facility – and ordered that the U.S. reduce the number of diplomatic staff members at the U.S. embassy there.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said the U.S. must reduce its diplomatic staff in Russia to 455 people – the same number of Russian diplomats left in the U.S. after 35 Russians were expelled in December 2016.
This demand would reportedly mean that hundreds of Americans would be expelled from Russia. The U.S. has until September 1 to do this.