U.S. President Donald J. Trump hosted Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on May 10 in the Oval Office, afterwards calling it a “very good” meeting. Photos of a grinning Trump and Lavrov, two serial liars, emerged. But the glad-handing looked very bad. It came hours after the president fired FBI Director James Comey, who had sought more money to investigate links between the president’s election campaign and Russia’s interference with the 2016 vote. Trump’s White House appeared all day to actively try to make those optics worse. U.S. reporters, whom Trump has in the past branded “enemies of the people” (a very Soviet phrase) were barred from the meeting. The only photographs came from Russian state news agency TASS. Ahead of his meeting with Trump, Lavrov engaged in cynical jokes when being greeted by U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. When asked for his reaction to Comey’s firing, he feigned surprise, saying “Was he fired? You’re kidding! You’re kidding!” To make matters worse, Lavrov brought Russian Ambassador to the United States Sergey Kislyak with him to meet Trump. Kislyak is the key link between Trump’s campaign team and the Kremlin. Several Trump team members met with Kislayak ahead of last November’s election, and then lied about it. Rubbing more dirt into the lens, Trump then chose to meet Henry Kissinger, the former U.S. secretary of state, a Soviet apologist who advocates selling out Ukraine for the sake of better U.S. relations with Russia. The only shine to the day’s photo record came from Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin, who was pictured meeting with Trump after Lavrov had gone. But while the White House issued a short readout on Trump’s meeting with Lavrov, there was no readout on his meeting with the Ukrainian foreign minister. That looks bad too, although U.S. officials said the president remained consistent in demanding that Russia lives up to its agreements to end its war in Ukraine. Trump is trashing America’s image abroad. Only the West’s enemies are rejoicing.

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