WASHINGTON—Representative Eliot L. Engel, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, this evening made the following statement regarding President Trump thanking Vladimir Putin for expelling American embassy staff because “we’re trying to cut down our payroll”:

“After weeks of silence regarding Vladimir Putin's outrageous expulsion of hundreds of U.S. embassy personnel, President Trump once again let Russia off the hook and instead insulted America’s diplomats. No doubt, the President's staff will eventually try to clean up after the parade by claiming it was a joke, but there's nothing funny about this.

“The President clearly has no understating of the vital and often dangerous jobs our diplomats do, shown through his budget, which slashes embassy security among other important investments in diplomacy; his failure to nominate senior State Department officials; and now through this snide and dismissive comment.

“At the same time, we see once again that in Donald Trump's eyes, Vladimir Putin can do no wrong.

“In a week of embarrassments on the global stage for President Trump, this comment plumbs new depths of disrespect toward the men and women who sacrifice and serve our country. The President owes our diplomats an apology.”

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