Both Stein and Flynn sat at the same table as President Vladimir Putin, but Flynn was to Putin’s direct right. When asked about this curious seating arrangement in a Washington Post interview, Flynn claimed ignorance of how the seating arrangement came about.
From the same Washington Post interview, Flynn came off as very critical of the Obama administration’s security policies in the middle east and throughout the globe.
PRIEST: Let me ask about sitting next to Putin … because that’s the symbol.
FLYNN: Yeah, I know, boring.
PRIEST: But did you think about what the optics would be …
FLYNN: Sure. I didn’t have any problem. What I’m looking for is to make sure, in my view, I see a country that has lost respect for another country and if I have any sort of fiber in my body where I can help out to make sure they understand that we have people in our country who aren’t going to apologize for who we are.
We’re not going to act in a soft way for what we believe needs to be done. I was very adamant about what I said. He knows exactly what I said.
Based on conversations that Flynn had with Russian associates, Flynn claimed that Russians had no respect for President Obama’s leadership, and Flynn, a nearly 35-year veteran of America’s Army, seemed to not take issue with their criticisms.
PRIEST: The seating arrangements? You didn’t ask to sit by him?
FLYNN: Nope. I was one of the guests there. … Some interesting characters. I found it a great learning opportunity. One of the things I learned was that Putin has no respect for the United States leadership. Not for the United States, but the leadership.
PRIEST: How did you learn that?
FLYNN: I just learned it from the conversations and the way questions were asked and the discussions I was part of. I’m arguing for the United States and I found myself with people wondering what’s going on with the U.S. and I would tell them, you know, of course I’m standing up for the U.S. But it’s hard when they don’t have any respect for the current leadership.