On Wednesday night during the fifth 2020 Democratic debate, the tech entrepreneur Andrew Yang was asked what he would say to Russian President Vladimir Putin in their first conversation if he were elected.
In a jab at President Donald Trumpand Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election, Yang said: “Well, first of all I’d say, ‘I’m sorry I beat your guy.'”
The remark prompted laughter in the debate hall.
Yang followed up by saying he would make clear to Putin “the days of meddling in American elections are over.”
The US intelligence community concluded that Russia interfered in the 2016 election to bolster Trump’s chances of winning and did so under Putin’s orders.
“Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the US presidential election,” according to a January 2017 intelligence assessment from the CIA, the National Security Agency, the FBI, and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.
Trump has repeatedly expressed doubts about Russian election interference, and his skepticism is now linked, in part, to the central concerns of the House impeachment inquiry.