Combative Trump pulls his punches for one man: Putin

The New York Times reports: The roster of villains in President Trump’s world is legion. The list of people he has been willing, even eager, to publicly attack includes not just Mitch McConnell, his latest target, but Jeff Sessions, Chuck Schumer, Paul D. Ryan, John McCain, Hillary Clinton, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.

And don’t forget James B. Comey, Robert S. Mueller III, Andrew G. McCabe, Rod J. Rosenstein, John D. Podesta, Nancy Pelosi, Lisa Murkowski, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Rosie O’Donnell, Meryl Streep, the mayor of London and the cast of “Saturday Night Live.” The countries he has assailed include not just North Korea and Iran but also Germany, Canada, Mexico, China and Sweden.

But for all of that feistiness, for all of those verbal and online fisticuffs, there is one person who is definitely not on Mr. Trump’s target list: President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia.

Ever since Mr. Trump jumped into political life, Washington has scratched its collective head over his curious affinity for the strongman of the Kremlin. But the president’s determination to avoid saying anything even remotely critical of Mr. Putin was brought home in stark relief on Thursday when he twisted himself into a knot over a question about the Russian leader’s decision to order the United States Embassy to slash its staff by more than half. Rather than complain, Mr. Trump expressed gratitude. [Continue reading…]

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