The clip shows Lavrov and aides sitting down at a table for a meeting with Thorbjorn Jagland, secretary general of the Council of Europe. As a photographer snaps photos at the start of their talk on Thursday, Jagland jokes: “These pictures won’t cause any problems for you?”
Lavrov answers: “Depends on what kind of secrets you pass on to me” — and the men erupt in laughter.
The exchange mocked Trump’s Oval Office meeting last week with Lavrov and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, during which Trump revealed sensitive classified information on ISIS that reportedly had been secretly provided to the U.S. by Israel.
The photo jab referred to the fact that the only photographer allowed in the meeting was one from the Russian government-run Tass news agency; no American journalists were allowed to attend. The Russians later posted photos of a beaming Trump shaking hands with Lavrov and Kislyak, which the White House had reportedly been assured would not be done.
The controversial meeting was the day after Trump fired FBI Director James Comey over the “Russian thing with Trump and Russia,” the president later told NBC News.
The New York Times reported Friday that Trump called Comey a “nut job” in his meeting with Lavrov and Kislyak. “I faced great pressure because of Russia. That’s taken off,” the Times quoted Trump as saying.
The mortifying video clip of Lavrov joking about the president is another example that America isn’t so much becoming “great again,” but an international laughingstock, several publications pointed out. Trump departed Friday on his first international trip amid a flurry of leaks about his shocking behavior in the White House.
“The dominant reaction to Trump right now is mockery,” Jacob Heilbrunn, editor of the conservative National Interest, told a recent meeting at the German Foreign Office, Politico reported.
Politico, citing an unnamed source, said NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told a former official after meeting with Trump in April, “The president of the United States has a 12-second attention span.” Trump also tried to get NATO officials to discuss North Korea, which is not part of NATO.
But it’s the Russians who are laughing the loudest, notes Bloomberg. Russian President Vladimir Putin mocked Trump this week, offering to send a record of Trump’s Oval Office meeting with Lavrov and Kislyak, should Congress need an account for an investigation.