According to The Washington Post, Trump instructed his team not to "take the lead" in the issue of expulsion of Russian diplomats.
"We’ll match their numbers. We’re not taking the lead. We’re matching," a senior administration official told the media outlet citing the US president.
However, after France and Germany announced that only four Russian diplomats would be expelled from Paris and Berlin each, Trump "erupted" as it was far fewer than the 60 Russian diplomats, who were to be expelled from the United States.
Former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter were found unconscious in March on a bench at a shopping center in the UK city of Salisbury. The United Kingdom accused Moscow of orchestrating the attack with what UK experts claim was an A234 nerve agent. Soon after the incident, London announced the expulsion of 23 Russian diplomatic workers. Over 25 countries have since expelled about 150 Russian diplomats "in solidarity" with London.
Trump, in particular, ordered the expulsion of 60 Russian diplomats, including 48 employees of the Russian Embassy and 12 people assigned to the United Nations in New York, as well as the closure of the Russian consulate in Seattle.
Russia, in turn, has strongly rejected the accusations and suggested helping in the investigation. However, Moscow's request for samples of the chemical substance used to poison Skripal was denied. In response, Moscow expelled UK diplomats and ordered the British Council to stop its activities in Russia.