On Tuesday, Donald Trump ignored specific warnings from his national security advisors and congratulated Vladimir Putin in a phone conversation for his reelection as the Russian President. Trump referred to the phone conversation as "a very good call."
According to officials in a Washington Post report, Trump's briefing materials included a message in all-capital letters instructing the president: "DO NOT CONGRATULATE." So much for clear directives.
But thanks to another Trump misstep, the phrase ignited a trending meme on Twitter.
The holy trinity of DO NOT CONGRATULATE https://t.co/9t9KyOfoab— 🦧 (@🦧) 1521591864.0
Do not congratulate. Also don't stare directly into the sun. #donotcongratulate https://t.co/B5sAWk3IhB— Dave Matt (@Dave Matt) 1521598243.0
Considering Trump's 'DO NOT CONGRATULATE' gaffe, does anyone reallywant him to meet with Kim Jong Un?— Roland Scahill (@Roland Scahill) 1521590059.0
Memo: DO NOT CONGRATULATE PUTIN Trump: https://t.co/2Gu7TZzV2K— James Frye (@James Frye) 1521615642.0
@TheDailyShow Slip "Do Not Congratulate" is his next Happy Meal.— John Smith (@John Smith) 1521593095.0
D N C Do Not Congratulate whoa this goes deeper than we thought— Alexandra Petri (@Alexandra Petri) 1521593404.0
The opportunity to heckle Trump with memes followed criticism from Arizona Sen. John McCain, who referred to Putin's victory as a sham.
"An American president does not lead the Free World by congratulating dictators on winning sham elections," McCain tweeted. "And by doing so with Vladimir Putin, President Trump insulted every Russian citizen who was denied the right to vote in a free and fair election."
An American president does not lead the Free World by congratulating dictators on winning sham elections. And by do… https://t.co/tdRTGcnH3h— John McCain (@John McCain) 1521566555.0
Putin won by over 75% of the vote against minor candidates for another six years in power despite allegations of ballot-stuffing during election. The Post reported, "Some world leaders have hesitated to congratulate Putin, since his reelection occurred in an environment of state control of much of the news media and with his most prominent opponent barred from the ballot."
Trump told reporters the two leaders shared limited topics including arms control and security matters over Syria and North Korea. "We'll probably be meeting in the not-too-distant future," said the president.
@ditzkoff DO NOT CONGRATULATE https://t.co/AaChEkdviv— 🕊Scout (@🕊Scout) 1521589490.0
Trump is also being scorched for refusing to condemn Putin for the nerve gas attack on former Russian military intelligence officer Sergei Skripaland and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury, despite being urged to mention the topic via talking points. Skripaland and his daughter are currently on life support.
Former diplomats were shocked that the U.S. – one of Britain's closest International allies – didn't respond immediately after the attack. Last week, British Prime Minister Theresa May responded by announcing the expulsion of 23 Russian diplomats.
The White House eventually imposed sanctions on Russian for the chemical attack and for interfering with the 2016 election.
The president ignoring his advisors is both appalling, yet unsurprising.
I just learned why DO NOT CONGRATULATE is trending and I don’t know which is worse: That Trump had to be warned not… https://t.co/9STbtJ8eme— Bryce Tache (@Bryce Tache) 1521595294.0
CNN reported that the sources who broke the news were "intimately familiar" with Trump's phone conversation with Putin.
This feels like a purposeful leak at the highest levels of presumably the national security apparatus designed to publicly embarrass the President.
The report indicated the crack within the administration that would leak information with damaging implications on the president is a dysfunctional one.
White House chief of staff John Kelly was incensed over the leak and plans to address it on Wednesday.
One Twitter user suggested Kelly should have used this tactic to get the message across more effectively.
General Kelly, next time do it this way. https://t.co/SgkynlIubW— The Daily Show (@The Daily Show) 1521591850.0
But since that ship has sailed, this user had another idea.
@TheDailyShow A girl can dream... ☺️ https://t.co/3Axx26JnEV— unapologesia (@unapologesia) 1521592595.0