Former President Donald Trump has aimed a dig at Joe Biden, the man who beat him in last year’s election, by telling his successor to “stay awake” during next week’s summit meeting with Vladimir Putin and to give the Russian President his “warmest regards’’.
“Good luck to Biden in dealing with President Putin—don’t fall asleep during the meeting, and please give him my warmest regards!”, Mr Trump said in the statement on Thursday.
Mr Trump’s cheeky quip at Mr Biden is a return to his “sleepy Joe” comment, which he often employed during the 2020 election campaign.
Mr Trump also suggested that he trusted the Russian president more than US intelligence on interference in the 2016 election.
He made reference to his meeting in Helsinki with Mr Putin during his time as president, during which he ruffled feathers after he refused to side with US intelligence agencies over Putin’s denials over vote interference.
“As president, I had a great and very productive meeting in Helsinki, Finland, with President Putin of Russia,” Mr Trump said.
He added: “Despite the belated Fake News portrayal of the meeting, the United States won much, including the respect of President Putin and Russia.”
The former president then ranted about the “phony Russia, Russia, Russia hoax, made up and paid for by the Democrats and crooked Hillary Clinton.”
“As to who do I trust, they asked, Russia or our ‘intelligence’ from the Obama era… after all that has been found out and written, should be obvious.”
Mr Biden is set to meet with Mr Putin on Wednesday in Switzerland to end his first trip abroad as president since taking office.
The president is set to confront Mr Putin on a number of tense issues including cybersecurity attacks and overt and covert efforts by the Kremlin to interfere in US elections.
"We’re not seeking conflict with Russia," the Democratic president said at the start of his eight-day visit to Europe.
"We want a stable and predictable relationship... but I’ve been clear: The United States will respond in a robust and meaningful way if the Russian government engages in harmful activities."
Additional reporting by the Associated Press