Trump Praises Putin While Criticizing US Military
Donald Trump's campaign reaffirmed its extraordinary embrace of Russia's president, Vladimir Putin, signaling a preference for the leadership of an authoritarian adversary of the USA over that of America's own president, despite a cascade of criticism from Democrats and expressions of discomfort among Republicans.
"I think it's arguable that Vladimir Putin has been a stronger leader in his country than Barack Obama has been in this country, " Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana, Mr. Trump's running mate, said on CNN on September 8, 2016, defending Mr. Trump by echoing his latest praise for the Russian leader, offered the previous night in a televised candidate forum.
Mr. Trump was excoriated by a chorus of politicians (Democrats and Republicans) for asserting that Mr. Putin is a better leader than the American President. Many said it was insulting to Americans, insulting to our commander in chief and moreover, just plain scary.
Trump Would be Russian Tool
Mr. Trump asserted that Mr. Putin's incursions into neighboring countries, crackdowns on Russia's independent news media, discrimination against minorities and particularly gays and lesbians, and support for America's enemies were no more troublesome than Mr. Obama's transgressions.
Meanwhile, The Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan accused the Russian leader of "conducting state-sponsored cyberattackes" on "our political system." Mr. Ryan was referring to the hack of the servers of the Democratic National Committee, which American officials believe was conducted by Russian intelligence services.
Mr. Trump has repeatedly disputed Russia's guilt, saying the culprits are unknown.
On Thursday, September 8, 2016, Trump went even further saying in an interview on the Kremlin-backed RUSSIA TODAY network that it was "probably unlikely" Russia was trying to interfere in the elections.
In a fashion that would have been unheard-of for a Republican during or immediately after the Cold War, Mr. Trump has made cozy relations with the Kremlin a centerpiece of his candidacy. And Russia has been a subplot of the campaign that Tom Clancy and John le Carre together may have been unable to conjure, complete with the apparent Russian hack of one of America's political parties, a threat that Russian hackers may try to tamper with electronic voting machines, and Mr. Putin's unsubtle preference for Mr. Trump.