Unlike most commenters screeching about Putin’s supposed endorsement of Donald Trump, I actually sat through VVP’s entire three-hour press conference. I watched the whole thing, including Putin chatting about the grain harvest and parking fees in Moscow. You know, KGB gunslinger stuff.
Unable to keep their eyes open while Putin droned on about pensions and advocated English proficiency, central command in English-speaking media went to work finding something they could roll up into a sound-bite and throw at their low-information readers to see if it stuck. Fast forwarding and...Eureka! Putin just endorsed Donald Trump! Hurray, we have a winner!
Vladimir Vladimirovich, according to various translations, said Trump was “flamboyant” or “colorful” and “bright” or “talented.” According to Western liberals, Republicans love Putin, everything he stands for, and vice versa. In their myopic little brains, Putin the invader and Trump the xenophobe are natural allies.
Americans on the right and left of the political spectrum lost their minds recently when Donald Trump said we shouldn’t allow Muslims into the country. As reprehensible as that sentiment may be, the average American gives exactly zero craps that Obama has been carpet bombing regions where a lot of Muslims happen to live. But Donald Trump is the bad guy, and since VVP “endorsed” him, that just proves they’re both vile monsters.
Putin also said in the same piece of the press conference that he would support whomever the Americans chose, but why focus on normalizing relations when you can throw a tantrum?
So what really is the problem here? Besides the fact that there isn’t one, Putin said Trump is an absolute leader in the race. Is this somehow not true? Let’s not gloss over the fact that the only reason Trump is the frontrunner for the Republican race is because American voters put him in that position.
Putin’s comments are typical Putin. About an hour and thirty in (while the NYT interns were getting their chai lattes reupped at Starbucks), Putin was pointedly asked about the presidential race and he stated that he supported bettering relations with America, and he would engage with whichever candidate we chose. At this juncture, with Trump still leading the Republican race, perhaps Putin did the math and calculated that it wasn’t unrealistic that Trump could actually become president. The statisticians at the Five Thirty-Eight blog question the predictive value of Trump’s numbers, but even they admit to not having enough data points.
When questioned about Syria, VVP stated in the presser that it was immoral and against international law for an outside party to interfere in a country’s internal affairs. Putin is not a fan of foreign entities interfering in Russian politics, so it would be hypocritical of Putin to pan our Republican frontrunner. N'est-ce pas?
Has Trump made a single politically incorrect comment that significantly lowered his polling numbers? No, no he has not. Putin’s logical conclusion is that Trump’s popularity reflects the will of the American people. Naturally, because Putin actually has some class, he complimented him. Big deal. Does Putin get to vote? Perhaps he’s figured out that this isn’t kindergarten and insulting a potential international partner isn’t terribly conducive to said partnership.
Let’s also address the fact that maybe Putin said something flattering about Trump because Trump is the only presidential candidate (and this includes Democrats Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders) who hasn’t been threatening his country. Trump, along with maybe Rand Paul, doesn’t support worsening relations with Russia.
It’s pretty apparent from the Republican debates that pretty much all the candidates from the clown car that is the GOP have completely jumped the rails. Same goes for the Dems. Hillary Clinton is a warmonger and Bernie Sanders has nothing new to offer on the foreign policy front. When it comes to our relations with Russia, Trump may be our only sane option.
What does the Western media want Putin to say, really? If he had condemned of Trump’s comments about Muslims, it would have jumped all over him about “human rights.” Putin has been on the West’s fecal roster for years. There is literally nothing he could have said in answer to the questions he was asked that the Western press wouldn’t have found fault with.
Donald Trump is not Putin's responsibility. Americans brought him to the forefront of the race. If there is a segment of the population that doesn't want him in office, that's not Russia's problem. But if Americans are serious about Trump, the Russians are prepared to take him seriously, and let the chips fall where they may.