During the third and final presidential debate, Trump spent an awkward amount of time discussing his friend Putin. He went on for minutes at a time ranting about how smart Putin was and how he’d showed up Obama and Clinton. He seemed to think that he was doing well, but if you watch Clinton’s face while he’s talking she has her characteristic giant smile. Because she knows that he’s only digging himself in deeper with those of us who think that he’s under Putin’s influence.
After she’d given him enough rope to thoroughly hang himself she retorted that he was Putin’s puppet. Trump immediately lost his cool. “No. No puppet. No. You’re the puppet,” he shouted like a child caught unexpectedly in a lie. But he didn’t seem to learn his lesson; once he’d calmed down he went right on singing Putin’s praises again.
Ironically, at one point he even asked sarcastically “are we best friends,” and while I don’t believe that they are actually best friends this does happen to correspond to one particularly damning statement on Twitter a few months ago:
Do you think Putin will be going to The Miss Universe Pageant in November in Moscow – if so, will he become my new best friend?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 19, 2013
I don’t think anyone thinks they are buddies but they’ve most certainly been in contact — even before he was running for president. At this point, we know almost certainly that Putin is trying to influence the election in his favor. Trump most likely thinks that he’ll be able to outsmart Putin and is willing to take any help he can get. But Trump doesn’t appear to understand that he’s playing right into the hands of a madman or perhaps he just doesn’t care.
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