ORLANDO, Florida - U.S. President Donald Trump and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein flew to Orlando, Florida together on Monday, and they had a "good talk," according to the president.
The relationship between the two has been strained for some time as Rosenstein ordered and heads up the Justice Department's investigation into allegations that Russia interfered with the presidential election in 2016, which brought Trump into power. It was Rosenstein that appointed Robert Mueller to be the chief investigator,
Trump on Monday was full of praise for the Justice Department official, and asserted that he was not going to "fire him."
This after he had targeted him several times on Twitter, particularly after a report last month (September 21st) in The New York Times that he (Rosenstein) had questioned Mr Trump's fitness for office, had talked of a move to oust him and replace him with Vice President Mike Pence. The report said the U.S. Justice Department official had offered to wear a wire to record conversations with the president.
There had been speculation recently that Mr Trump was readying to fire the deputy AG, despite Rosenstein’s strenuous denials about the accuracy of the 'Times report, which at the time he described as "factually incorrect."
It was all smiles on Monday however as Rosenstein accompanied the president on Air Force One on the flight to Orlando, where Mr Trump was giving a speech to top police officials.
White House spokesman Hogan Gidley confirmed to the media that the pair had a 45-minute conversation on the flight and they talked about a number of issues related to justice.
Also involved in the discussions were White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and Ed O’Callaghan of the Justice Department.
At the start of his speech Monday, the U.S. president thanked Rosenstein for his efforts with Justice. “The press wants to know, ‘What did you talk about?’” Trump said, noting the intense media speculation in their relationship.
“We had a very good talk, I will say. That became a very big story, actually. We had a good talk,” he said.
As he was leaving the White House on Monday, a journalist asked the president if he had any plans to fire Rosenstein.
“No I don’t, no,” Mr Trump replied. At another point he said he had a “good relationship” with the deputy attorney general.
“I didn’t know Rod before, but I’ve gotten to know him, and I get along very well with him,” he said.