Trump admires leaders like Putin — even if they murder their opponents

Leon Neyfakh writes: Marco Rubio attacked Donald Trump at Thursday’s debate for expressing admiration for Vladimir Putin. “Wrong, wrong, wrong!” Trump said, before explaining that it had been the other way around.

“Putin said about me — I didn’t say about Putin — Putin said very nice things about me. And I say, very nicely, ‘Wouldn’t it be nice if actually we could get along with Russia?’ ”

First of all, Trump has most certainly spoken glowingly about Putin. In December 2015, on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, he said, “I’ve always felt fine about Putin. He’s a strong leader, he’s a powerful leader. … He’s actually got popularity within his country.”

Trump was impressed with Putin’s popularity: “I think he’s up in the 80s. You see where Obama’s in the 30s and low 40s and [Putin’s] up in the 80s.”

Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough brought up the fact that Putin has been accused of ordering the killing of journalists and political rivals. “He’s running his country, and at least he’s a leader, unlike what we have in this country,” Trump replied. [Continue reading…]

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