The common perception is that Trump administration is less antagonistic to Russia than, say, Republican congressional leadership, or the latter-day Obama administration (we won't digress into the "reset button" events of the earlier Obama years).

But administration is made up of individual people, sometimes with - surprise - different views and agendas.

As such, are there Trump administration officials (the ones that came in with Trump, not the ones who served since Obama/Bush years) who are demonstrably more antagonistic/hostile to Russia, as evidenced by either actions or public statements?

  • I would prefer such demonstration to have been since inauguration; although earlier stuff is acceptable as long as their position hasn't demonstrably changed since then.
    – user4012
    Commented Feb 14, 2017 at 15:24
  • Trump himself became more antagonistic. His change of view on Crimea problem just after Flynn departure is very important. It will lead US-Russia relations back to where it was during Obama. Looks like US will have to go against IS alone.
    – lowtech
    Commented Feb 16, 2017 at 13:19

1 Answer 1


James Mattis, Trump's pick for Defense Secretary, has made pretty strong statements regarding our relationship with Russia, both in his career as a general, and on the record during his confirmation hearings.

CNN: Defense nominee James Mattis emerges with strong support

Both his Secretary of State (Tillerson) and CIA picks (Pompeo) are both on the record breaking with Trump by stating they thought the case against Russia for hacking and elections mischief was solid, and statements about the tone that needs to be set in our relationships with Russia.

CNN: Trump's Top Team Is Split On Russia

It seems like those who toe the messaging line and go against the policy experts are more appointees who are less policy driven and are more personally aligned with Trump, or ideologically focused.

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