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Under normal circumstances, the gift would delight any 12-year-old soccer fan: A ball used in the recent World Cup final.
But these were not normal circumstances. And the ball in question was presented by Russian President Vladimir Putin to President Donald Trump during a bizarre moment in what has been widely condemned as an embarrassing and diplomatically disastrous moment for Trump’s White House and for the United States.
Summit - Helsinki - Monday - Putin - Ball
Following a high-stakes summit in Helsinki Monday, Putin brought out a special red-and-white ball at his joint press conference with Trump. Putin handed the ball to his American counterpart, seemingly as a gesture of congratulating the United States for winning a bid to co-host the World Cup in 2026.
Grinning and looking a tad bashful — maybe because he forgot to bring a gift for Putin? — Trump congratulated Putin back on Russia’s “successful” efforts in hosting the World Cup.
Trump - Ball - Son - Barron
Trump then announced he would give the ball to his youngest son, Barron.
“Melania, there you go,” Trump said, bouncing the ball to his wife, First Lady Melania Trump, sitting in the front row.
Photo - Twitter - CNN - Reporter - Kate
In a photo later shared on Twitter by CNN reporter Kate Bennett, Melania Trump stood with Putin, giving the ball a somewhat quizzical look.
What is Melania thinking? Is it, “Barron will love this!”
Barron - Room
Or, “I can’t possibly allow this in Barron’s room!”
Many around the world, even including Trump’s ardent Fox News supporters and leaders from the Republican Party, reacted with disappointment, anger or horror at the president’s performance at the press conference. Among other things, Trump stood up in front of a world audience and sided with Putin in questioning assessments by multiple U.S. intelligence agencies that Russia meddled in the 2016 presidential election.
Senator - John - McCain - GOP - Trump
Senator John McCain, a frequent GOP Trump critic, called it “one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in memory”...
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