“Actually, last time I traveled to the United States, I stayed in New York near Central Park, and I stayed at the Trump Tower,” Zelensky told Trump, according to the rough transcript.
Trump has publicly touted his properties at least 70 times as president, including last month, when he suggested that he was likely to hold next year’s Group of Seven summit at his golf resort in Doral, Florida.
We used quite a few of your skills and knowledge and were able to use it as an example for our elections.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky
Zelensky would not be the first world leader or representative of a foreign government to seek to get in the president’s good graces by staying at his properties. Within a month of Trump’s 2016 election, for instance, lobbyists representing the Saudi government paid for an estimated 500 nights at Trump’s Washington hotel in a span of just three months. The lobbyists have denied that they were seeking to curry favor with Trump.
On the July phone call, Zelensky also complimented Trump’s skill as a campaigner, telling him, “We worked a lot, but I would like to confess to you that I had an opportunity to learn from you.”
“We used quite a few of your skills and knowledge and were able to use it as an example for our elections,” Zelensky said.
He then used one of Trump’s signature phrases – “drain the swamp” – when discussing his own political goals.
“Well yes, to tell you the truth, we are trying to work hard because we wanted to drain the swamp here in our country … You are a great teacher for us and in that,” Zelensky said.
And, finally, Zelensky voiced enthusiastic agreement with Trump – regardless of the topic.
“Yes, you are absolutely right,” Zelensky said at one point when Trump declared that the United States “has been very, very good” to Ukraine. “Not only 100 percent, but actually 1000 percent.”
At another point, Zelensky said he agreed with Trump “100 percent” that the former US ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, was “a bad ambassador.”
“It was great that you were the first one who told me that she was a bad ambassador because I agree with you 100 percent,” Zelensky said. “Her attitude towards me was far from the best, as she admired the previous president and she was on his side. She would not accept me as a new president well enough.”
Yovanovitch was abruptly recalled by the Trump administration in May. Though she was widely respected in the national security community for her efforts to prod Ukraine to take on corruption, she became the target of political attacks by conservative media outlets and Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal attorney.
The Washington Post