“I guess President Obama, because Putin outsmarted him — President Obama thought it wasn’t a good thing to have Russia in, so he wanted Russia out,” Trump said, referring to his predecessor’s push for a united stand against Russia after it annexed Ukraine’s Crimea region. “But I think it’s much more appropriate to have Russia in.”
He added that “if somebody would make that motion, I would certainly be disposed to think about it very favorably.”
Russia was expelled from the group in 2014 and has since angered U.S. lawmakers and foreign powers over interference in the U.S. presidential election, among other actions.
Trump broke with most other G-7 leaders in June 2018 by calling for Russia to be readmitted.
“Whether you like it or not, and it may not be politically correct, but we have a world to run. . . . They should let Russia come back in,” he said at the time. He has also repeatedly blamed Obama for the annexation of Crimea, saying that Obama allowed it to happen and that Russian President Vladimir Putin “didn’t respect” him.
On Tuesday, Trump contended that Russia should be allowed to rejoin “because a lot of the things we talk about have to do with Russia.”
“As you know, for most of the time, it was the G-8,” he said. “It included Russia. And President Obama didn’t want Russia in because he got outsmarted. Well, that’s not the way it really should work.”
Damian Paletta contributed to this report.