Donald Trump has fiercely defended Vladimir Putin when an ABC host cited “allegations” accusing the Russian president of killing reporters.
“If he has killed reporters I think that’s bad”, Trump replied. But this isn’t like somebody that stood with a gun and is taking the blame or is admitting that he’s killed. He’s always denied it. “You’re just saying, he killed reporters”. “He’s running his country, and at least he’s a leader”, said Trump. Trump embraced Putin’s praise as a “great honor“.
Stephanopoulos pressed Trump about his comment that “our country does plenty of killing, too”, a remark Trump made when asked about Putin killing journalists.
“They are allegations. Yeah sure there are allegations”. Responding to criticism regarding his apparent admiration for the Russian leader and unsatisfactory answers from last week’s interview, Trump said, “Now, I think it would be despicable if that took place, but I haven’t seen any evidence that he’s killed anybody in terms of reporters”.
“There are many allegations he was behind the killing of Anna Politkovskaya-” Stephanopoulos said before Trump interrupted. “I think that my words represent toughness and strength, ” he said.
A report from the Committee to Protect Journalists has found that between 1993 and 2013 at least 36 journalists have been murdered in Russian Federation. You’re just saying he killed reporters. I feel, frankly, good about him. And Putin in turn was pleased: “He says that he wants to move to another level of relations, to a deeper level of relations with Russian Federation”. I think it would be disgusting. One does not have to be a master detective to figure out why a popular leader with a following, unafraid of making strong anti-regime statements, would be murdered gangland style. What am I going to say, he’s a weak leader?
For his part, Putin, whose cynicism and snarling vulgarity are mirrored in Trump’s own political oratory, sees in the USA mogul a man after his own heart.
And on a radio broadcast Sunday, Trump also seemed to equate the charges against Putin to the lives lost in wars by the United States.
Trump then said that some of his GOP rivals have suggested that they would refuse to meet with Putin or work with him.
“If Russia wants to bomb the hell out of ISIS, and join us in that effort, I am absolutely fine with it”, he said.
Trump fired back at claims by Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton that his anti-Muslim rhetoric has become fodder for recruiters of the Islamic State, calling it “another Hillary lie”. Though he’s right, Putin’s critics are often silenced violently. “You don’t brag about what a great guy he is”.