While answering a question on Russia from Scott Newman during a press briefing on Tuesday, the White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer reiterated Trump’s commitment to attempting a deal with Russia.
The following is a transcript of that exchange, available on the White House website.
Scott Newman: On Russia — critics of the President have said that at time he doesn’t talk tough enough on the subject. General McMaster, though, has been labeled by a lot of people as being pretty hawkish. I’m curious what, if any, difference in tone or tenor or strategy we should expect now that they’re working together.
Sean Spicer: Well, I think, as I mentioned a couple times, I think there is widespread praise for General McMaster and his understanding and command of national security matters, foreign policy matters. He’s going to be a great asset to the President’s national security team.
But ultimately, the President has always been the decider, whether it’s Russia or any other issue. And I think you’re right, he has made it very clear that if he can get a deal with Russia, something that the last several administrations have tried to do, that he’s going to do it. And if he can’t, he won’t. But he is going to try. And I think his success as a businessman and negotiator should be seen as a positive sign for him to be able to do that.
But he understands that if he can find common ground on defeating ISIS and combatting terrorism, growing the economy where we can find areas of economic interest, then we’re going to do it. But that’s where we’re going to continue to work with Russia if we can. He’ll get a deal. If he can’t, he won’t. But he’s going to try. And I think where others have failed, he’s going to make sure that he does everything possible to make sure that if it’s in the interest of the United States he will get a deal.