Bridgewater (CNN) - President Donald Trump said Friday that he was being sarcastic when he thanked Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday for expelling hundreds of American diplomats from the country.
When asked if he meant his remarks about Putin sarcastically, Trump told reporters, "Absolutely. I think you know that I think you know that."
Trump's remarks echo White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders' characterization of his comments.
"He was being sarcastic," Sanders said earlier Friday.
Trump's comments to reporters Friday came after a meeting with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley in Bedminster, New Jersey. Tillerson told reporters Friday that the United States will have a response to Russia over the expelled diplomats by September 1.
Trump, during a prolonged exchange with reporters Thursday, said he was thankful that Russia expelled American diplomats because the United States is "trying to cut down our payroll."
"I want to thank him because we're trying to cut down our payroll and as far as I'm concerned," Trump had said.
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