Trump defended Putin last night re DNC hack, then criticized US

Ronald Reagan would have rolled over in his grave.

Last night on MSNBC, in front of an audience of US service members, Donald Trump praised Russian President Vladimir Putin, said Putin was a better leader than Obama, and then defended Putin when Matt Lauer mentioned the DNC hack.

Here’s the transcript, then we’ll discuss:

Trump defended Putin

First, Trump notes how “popular” Putin is at home, with an 82% approval rating. Trump fails to mention that those who stand up to Putin — from journalists, to dissidents, to LGBT activists — often find themselves dead. So it’s not that much of a surprise that, when asked by a stranger whether they approve of Putin, Russians roundly say “da.”

Then, and this is the really bad part, Matt Lauer names all the bad things Putin has done, including annexing Crimea, supporting Assad, undermining US influence in the Middle East and beyond, and being the main suspect in the DNC hack. How did Trump respond? He first defended Putin, suggesting that maybe Putin wasn’t responding for the DNC hack, then he said that President Obama had done things just as bad as Putin.

That second point is the most damning. The Republican presidential candidate just suggested that the United States is as bad an actor on the world stage as Russia’s Putin. Let that sink in.

So are the US service members in the audience fighting for the wrong team? And if Trump thinks America is just as morally bankrupt as Russia, then why is he trying to become president at all? Maybe Trump would be happy running for president of Russia. Oh that’s right, that’s Putin’s job, and he kills his opponents.

The thing is, this isn’t the first time the Trump campaign has suggested that the US has unclean hands when criticizing Russia. One of Trump’s key foreign policy advisers, Carter Page, was in Moscow earlier this year giving a speech. In his talk, Page criticized the US’ “often-hypocritical focus on democratization, inequality, corruption and regime change.” Page then went on to suggest that America is not “democratic.”

Which has me wondering, why does Trump seem so intent on currying favor with Putin? Is Trump trying to schmooze Putin for possible business deals after the election, should he lose in November?

Whatever the motivation, the Trump campaign’s anti-Americanism isn’t a glitch, it’s a feature.

Help us by sharing this story on Twitter, then watch the video of Trump’s comments below:

Here’s the video:

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Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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