Following the criticism on social media sites of President Donald trump thanking Russian President Vladimir Putin for cutting the U.S. payroll by 755 employees, the White House just did a U turn. A senior White House spokesman insisted on Friday that Trump was being sarcastic after he was accused of treating very lightly Putin’s decision to send home the embassy staff, ABC reported.

Trump told reporters on Thursday from his Bedminster golf course that he was grateful to Putin for cutting down the embassy’s workers which resulted in a smaller payroll for the U.S.

government. He added there is no reason for the 755 embassy employees to return to Moscow. Trump said the move, which is in response to economic sanctions on Russia imposed by the US Congress for Kremlin’s interference in the 2016 US election, will save Washington a lot of money, Time reported.

Twitterverse explodes

As expected, a lot of Americans were angry at the moves of Trump who reluctantly signed the economic sanctions legislation. Trump had maintained that the Russians did not intervene in the elections in 2016, although evidence – such as the meeting of Trump’s campaign team with Russians on June 9, 2016 – says otherwise.

On Twitter, a lot of netizens tweeted their sentiments. Chadda Mooka Moxx said that it was so disgraceful for the president to thank Russia for forcibly cutting the number of embassy workers in Moscow.

Time noted that while the State Department called Putin’s move regrettable and not called for, Trump was noticeably silent over the issue.

The White House issued the statement that Trump was sarcastic after a lot of netizens commented on Trump’s obvious sympathy for his former BFF.

Not sarcasm

As a result, a growing number of Twitter users do not believe that Trump was sarcastic. Barney Gana tweeted that Trump had unscrupulous intent in his statement. The president’s respect towards Putin is suspicious, he added.

Jeri Henson Dies wrote that Trump was not being sarcastic. Rather, the president was just being his idiotic self. HippoCrypt, who wrote that Trump is known for lies, deceit, and jokes, said that the real estate billionaire lacks the guts to be honest and accountable.

Russia to also close 1 consulate general in U.S.

Kommersant, a Russian newspaper, reported that as part of the diplomatic row between Washington and Moscow, the U.S.

State Department will announce soon that Russia will close one of its consulate generals in New York, Houston, San Francisco, or Seattle by Sept. 1, according to The New York Daily News. However, there is no word if Putin is also grateful to Trump for reducing Russia’s Foreign Service payroll.