U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley offered a very harsh statement on relations between the U.S. and Russia, and then spoke out about the president's controversial summit with Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin.
"We don't trust Russia, we don't trust Putin, we never will"
In an interview with Christian Broadcasting News anchor David Brody, Haley said in no uncertain terms that Russia was not a friend of the United States.
"How do you feel about some of what he has done here because it is unconventional to basically do some of this, I know this has happened before, especially with Putin, but the way he went about this, he's taken a lot of shots and criticism back home," Brody asked.
"What's been your view about what happened in Helsinki," he continued, "and a little bit on North Korea, but really, on Russia [and] Helsinki, and the criticism that came his way?"
"Well, first of all, we don't trust Russia," Haley responded forcefully, "we don't trust Putin, we never will, they're never gonna be our friend, that's just a fact."
"But what I do think is, whether it's the president sitting down with Kim [Jong Un], or whether the president sits down with Putin, those are things that have to happen," she continued. "You can't get to the end of the other side if you don't have those conversations."
"I care more about what he does"
Haley defended the Helsinki summit, saying that it "was something that was a long time coming there were a lot of grievances that needed to be aired, there were a lot of challenges that we needed to discuss, and I think the president did that."
"There is obviously some controversy about Helsinki," she continued, "but if you look at the controversy it's all about what he said. For me, a policy person, I care more about what he does, and arming the Ukrainians against Russia was important. Making sure we hit Assad's chemical weapons program even though Russia didn't want us to it.
"That matters," she added.
"The idea that we expelled Russian diplomats and spies from Washington and New York - all of those actions matter," Haley concluded. "So I think what's controversial is the words that he said, but to me the actions are the only thing that matters."
Haley also defended Trump's practice of meeting with the less savory world leaders in private, saying that it was just his style and that he believed he could get "more out of them" in private.
Watch Haley's comments below:
Haley's statement stands in contrast with those frequently coming from Trump, who has excused various accusations made against Putin and Russia. He has also made it clear that his foreign policy is aimed towards friendlier relations with Russia.
Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) defended the president's actions and statements at the Helsinki summit, and accused his critics of being motivated by "Trump derangement syndrome."