As Trevor reported this week, Donald Trump appears unlikely to support President Obama’s recent sanctions against Russia once he takes office. Trump even hinted with his signature subtlety that the country’s autocratic president, Vladimir Putin, could just wait out Obama’s remaining time in office for friendlier terms rather than retaliate.
Of course, this isn’t the first time the president-elect got buddy-buddy with the leader of our former Cold War rival. Who’s ready for a stroll down terrifying-memory lane?
Trump was smitten with Putin as far back as 2007, but his affection for the Kremlin really blossomed during his presidential campaign. When it was revealed that the Russian government may have been behind the DNC’s infamous email leak (a charge that has since been leveled against Putin himself), Trump claimed with no evidence that the perpetrator of the hack was “probably China.” His fact-free stance seems to have remained a constant, as he continues to doubt U.S. intelligence reports tracing the hack to Russia. Hopefully his “randomly blame China for stuff” strategy won’t remain a constant, too.
Then again, maybe we’re all overthinking Trump’s connections to Russia. As he said of Putin at the Commander-In-Chief Forum in September, “If he says great things about me, I’m going to say great things about him.” So it’s possible that Trump is just being polite to Putin by reciprocating a compliment — but based on his track record when it comes to decorum, let’s just say that it probably isn’t likely.