Donald Trump continued praising Vladimir Putin at tonight’s debate.
Donald Trump has a troubling habit of praising and admiring brutal dictators. Even more troubling is his propensity for courting these dictators to make money. While he’s campaigned on an “America First” platform, Trump’s record is more “Trump Organization and foreign dictators first.”
Trump openly asked Russia to conduct espionage on Hillary Clinton, even going so far as to suggest that the country might be rewarded for doing so.
Ordinarily, it would be shocking to see an American presidential nominee pivoting to a bizarrely pro-Russia foreign policy doctrine. But Donald Trump is no ordinary candidate, nor are his Putin-connected aides typical campaign advisers. And so here we are, with Trump:
- Openly requesting that Russia
conduct espionage on Hillary Clinton, and even going so far as to offer that the country might be rewarded for doing so;
- Heaping praise on Vladimir Putin;
- Alternately saying he did and didn’t meet with Putin, to the point where it’s unclear which is the lie;
- Lobbying to make the GOP platform more pro-Russia;
- Claiming that he has “ZERO investments in Russia,” even though his son once claimed, “Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets”; and,
- Pushing Kremlin talking points — including that Russia never invaded Ukraine, although, if they did, the “people of Crimea…would rather be with Russia” — which has earned him folk hero-status among the Russian media.
Trump’s admiration of strongmen isn’t limited to Vladimir Putin:
- In 2009, Trump rented at his New York estate to Gaddafi; an arrangement that Trump has bragged yielded “a lot of money.”
- But the sketchiness doesn’t end there: BuzzFeed News reports that Trump “sought to use the opportunity to gain access to [Gaddafi], who was in a position torelease billions in investment capital.”
- April 2004: “[Saddam Hussein] used to keep the terrorists out. He’d kill the terrorists…there’s usually a reason why a country’s run a certain way.” [Howard Stern, 4/16/04]
- October 2006: “[Saddam Hussein] killed terrorists. He would shoot terrorists in the street. There were no terrorists.” [“Larry King Live,” CNN, 10/9/06]
- October 2008: “Saddam Hussein killed terrorists. They had very few terrorists, because he didn’t want terrorists in Iraq, and he killed terrorists.” [“Situation Room,” CNN, 10/15/08]
- January 2014: “Whether you liked Saddam Hussein or not, he used to kill terrorists. Terrorists did not have fun in that country.” [Donald Trump, Politics and Eggs, Manchester, NH, 1/20/14]
- October 2015: Trump: The world would be “a hundred percent” better off with Saddam Hussein still in power. [“State of the Union,” CNN, 10/25/15]
- December 2015: “[Saddam Hussein] was great at one thing: He Killed Terrorists. They were executing terrorists on a daily basis.” [“Media Buzz,” Fox News, 12/20/15]
- January 2016: “Getting rid of Saddam Hussein…what we have now is far worse.” [“Face the Nation,” CBS, 1/4/16]
- February 2016: “Saddam Hussein killed terrorists…He would do it immediately, He didn’t do it politically correct. With us, we find a terrorist, it’s going to be 25 years and a trial.” [Donald Trump, Rally, Greenville, SC, 2/15/16]
- February 2016: “Saddam Hussein was a bad guy, but the one thing about him: He Killed Terrorists.” [Donald Trump, Press Conference, Charleston, SC, 2/15/16]
- July 2016: “[Saddam Hussein] killed terrorists. He did that so good…They didn’t read them their rights, they didn’t talk…over.” [Donald Trump, Rally, Raleigh, NC, 7/5/16]