White House: There Was No Readout of Obama's Conversations at G20 Dinner Either


Pressed to explain why the White House didn't provide details on what President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin said during the G20 dinner this month, the White House said there was no readout of then-President Obama's appearance at the G20 dinner in 2011.

When asked to explain why the White House did not provide a readout of the president's conversation with Putin during the dinner like when Secretary of State Rex Tillerson provided a readout of the two leaders' conversation during their private meeting during the G20 events, White House Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said, "First of all, the first account given by Secretary Tillerson was a formal bilat, which is very different than a social working dinner with all of the leaders."

Trump was "seated next to the first lady from Japan and Argentina, and we didn't offer readouts of either of those conversations, Sanders said.

"As is set precedent, President Obama had a pull aside in 2011 at the G20 where there also was not a readout. In fact, ABC said at the time that it wasn't necessary, because it was a private conversation at a social gathering," Sanders added. "There's a very different standard that you guys like to draw between this White House and previous administrations, and you try to create a situation that frankly just wasn't there.

Sanders was asked why it took so long for the administration to talk about Trump's interaction with Putin during the dinner.

"In terms of how long, again this was a publicly disclosed event. The president participated in an official dinner of the G20 that was part of his schedule that was released publicly. Guys, he even took pictures of it. It wasn't like this was some sort of hidden dinner. The pictures have been replayed over and over as part of the G20 schedule, so to act as if this was some secret is just absolutely absurd," Sanders said.

Sanders accused the media of trying to create a story where there was none.

"I think that once again, the Russia fever has caught up with the media, and everybody ran out and tried to create a story that simply didn't exist. There was an official dinner. It was made very public by the release of the president's schedule as well as the official schedule of the G20 that the president would be at the dinner, that he would participate, that the first lady would be at the dinner and participate," she said. "This was something hosted by Chancellor Merkel. 

"The seating arrangements were determined by the host, and there were 40 people there ... actually there were more than 40, because you had all of the leaders. Plus, each delegation was allowed one translator to be present, and to try to create that there was some sort of private conversation in the room with 40 plus people seems a little ridiculous," Sanders said.

Sanders refused to get into the specifics of the two leaders' conversation. She said it was "a social dinner where the president spoke with many world leaders as is the purpose."

"I think it would be incredibly awkward for them to all sit at a dinner and not speak to each other, and I would imagine that you would all agree with that," she said.

When pressed to explain why the White House took so long to talk about Trump and Putin's interaction during the G20 dinner, Sanders said, "It seems silly that we would disclose a dinner that we had already announced he was participating in. I'm not sure what other announcement should have been made. He does have pictures of the event taking place, and it was on both the president's schedule as well as the G20 schedule." 

Courtesy of CNSNews.com     

Melanie has been with CNSNews.com since November 2000 as an evening editor responsible for writing, editing and posting stories to the website. She was promoted to deputy managing editor in 2002, overseeing the radio production department in addition to her daily editing duties. Prior to working at CNSNews.com, Melanie served as news director for WKYS-FM, one of Washington, D.C.'s top-rated radio stations. Ms. Hunter also worked as a traffic reporter for Shadow Broadcasting in the nation's capital and prior to that, as a news anchor/reporter for WAMO-FM in Pittsburgh, Pa. Her television experience was obtained at several Washington, D.C. stations. She worked for America's Most Wanted at Fox affiliate WTTG, the Creative Services Department of WUSA-TV and the Evening Exchange on WHUT-TV. She holds a bachelor's degree in television production from Howard University.

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