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Brushing off Putin, Trump says fewer diplomats saves money

• sfgate.com by Josh Lederman and Jonathan Lemire

In remarks to reporters at his golf course in central New Jersey, Trump dismissed Putin's move, saying he "greatly' appreciated Putin's help cutting down the payroll at the U.S. State Department.

"I want to thank him because we're trying to cut down on payroll," Trump said, adding: "As far as I am concerned, I'm very thankful that he let go of a large number of people because now we have a smaller payroll. There's no real reason for them to go back. So, I greatly appreciate the fact that they've been able to cut our payroll for the United States. We'll save a lot of money."

It was unclear whether the president was joking at all in his remarks, which were made following a security briefing held during an extended working vacation at Trump's Bedminster, New Jersey, golf course. The White House did not immediately respond to questions about the president's remarks.

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