President Trump turned "not orange, but red" when he heard about Putin's call.
  • Trump was furious with staffers when told he had missed his first call with President Putin.
  • Trump heard the news during an awkward meeting with British Prime Minister Theresa May.
  • A senior aide to May said Trump turned "not orange, but red" after hearing the news.
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Trump "flipped and turned "not orange, but red" when told he had missed a call from President Putin, during an awkward meeting with British Prime Minister Theresa May and senior aides.

Trump heard the news during his first meeting with May, in the White House in 2017, according to other attendees who spoke to the BBC.

The encounter began after the Prime Minister asked Trump if he had spoken to Putin since becoming president, to which he replied that he had not.

Trump's then Chief of Staff interjected to say that Putin had called but that they were "busy scheduling a return call."

May's chief adviser Fiona McLeod Hill told the BBC that Trump then "flipped" and turned "not orange, but red."

"He flipped, furious," Hill said.

"He said: 'You're telling me that Vladimir Putin called the White House, and you're only telling me now during this lunch?"

Thomas Shannon, who served as Trump's acting Secretary of State, told the BBC that the president then "looked at the prime minister and said: "I don't believe this, Vladimir Putin is the only man in the world who can destroy the United States and I didn't take his call."

Hill says the mood of the meeting with May became very awkward, due to Trump's anger.

"Honestly you could feel the tumbleweed completely takeover the entire lunch table," Hill told the BBC.

"My toes were curling."

The news of Putin's call continued to preoccupy Trump throughout the meeting, according to Hill.

"He asked Theresa what her position on climate change was and she was halfway through something about how she was a big ardent fan of conservation and then suddenly he stopped again and he says to the National Security Adviser Mike Flynn: 'you're telling me that Vladimir Putin called the White House and you didn't tell me? You didn't tell me.'"

Former British Prime Minister Theresa May and former President Donald Trump walk along The Colonnade of the West Wing at The White House on January 27, 2017.
May's meeting with Trump was most notable at the time for an awkward moment in which the then-president took May's hand on-camera while walking through the White House grounds.

"He held her hand going through the colonnades, which took us all by surprise and took Theresa by surprise," Hill told the BBC.

"But she felt she couldn't really take her hand back so she was stuck with the hand... and the first thing she said was 'I need to call Philip [May, her husband] and let him know that I have been holding hands with another man before it hits the media.'"

The contents of conversations between Trump and Putin have never been publicly revealed before. However, the incoming Biden administration now has full access to records of the calls, Politico reported on Wednesday. 

"Biden owns all the call materials. There is only one president at a time," a former Trump official told Politico.

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