President Trump said Thursday that Russian President Vladimir Putin is neither his friend nor his enemy، but is mostly a competitor، according to “Washington Examiner”.
"He's a competitor،" Trump said in Belgium just days before he was set to meet with Putin in Helsinki. "Somebody was saying، 'is he an enemy?' He's not my enemy. Is he a friend? No، I don't know him well enough."
"I hope we get along well، I think we get along well،" Trump said.
Trump's meeting with Putin will be closely scrutinized by Democrats، who continue to charge that he coordinated with Russia to defeat Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election.
But Trump surprised some during his visit to NATO by complaining that Germany is buying too much of its energy from Russia، which he said could make Germany beholden to Putin's government.
Trump stressed that for now he sees Putin as a competitor، but held out the hope that he and Putin could be friends.
"Ultimately، he's a competitor،" Trump said. "He's representing Russia. I'm representing the United States. So in a sense، we're competitors. Not a question of friends or enemy. He's not my enemy."
"And hopefully someday، maybe he'll be a friend، it could happen،" he said.