French Officials Block Trump-Putin Meeting By Changing Lunch Seating

French officials blocked a potential lunch meeting between President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin by seating the two authoritarians away from each other (video below).

BBC News notes French officials made a “last minute” change to lunch seating arrangements after Putin and Trump shook hands at a World War I remembrance.

According to Reuters, the two strong men had planned on a “working” lunch, which was foiled.

Putin said that he and Trump were unable to meet for discussions because the French requested “no meetings,” reports Interfax via The Daily Beast.

Putin added: “At their request we’re not holding any meetings here.”

Author Sarah Kendzior, an expert in authoritarian regimes, told MSNBC’s “AM Joy” why Trump had time for Putin, but not for a visit to a WWI U.S. vet cemetery:

It is strangely predictable. I think we have two things going on. One is Trump’s fear of sacrifice. His lack of ability to understand sacrifice for a cause greater than yourself.

He has contempt for veterans, this is something that is consistent. He was cruel to [Republican Senator John] McCain, our troops — he has them stationed in Texas to put off an alleged horde of migrants coming toward Tijuana, and it makes no sense.

Then you have his consistent love of dictatorships, his worship of raw power. That is something he understands, that is something he sought to emulate. You saw this especially with Putin, but with Kim Jong-un and with anybody who is able to abuse power in an open and flagrant way with no regard for any actual representative body.

That’s an alarming thing because in this visit to France you see him once again moving away from a Western democratic alliance and towards an access of autocrats. That is his goal and objective.

(Sources: BBC News, Reuters, Interfax via The Daily Beast, MSNBC via YouTube)

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