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Trump says Putin paid him ‘great compliment’

The Russian leader said he favored President Joe Biden in office, calling him a “predictable” old-school politician

Former US President Donald Trump has said he was flattered when Russia’s Vladimir Putin told a reporter that he preferred Joe Biden in the 2024 election, taking the comment as proof that he would be tougher on America’s rivals than the current commander in chief.

Speaking to supporters in South Carolina just days before the state’s Republican primary, Trump said that while he “got along good” with Putin during his time in office, the Russian leader “doesn’t want to have me” for another term.

”President Putin of Russia has just given me a great compliment, actually. He’s just said that he would much rather have Joe Biden as president than Trump,” he added. “Now, that’s a compliment. A lot of people said, ‘Oh, gee, that’s too bad.’ No, no, that’s a good thing.”

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Putin makes a choice between Trump and Biden

The remarks came soon after Russian journalist Pavel Zarubin asked Putin who he would prefer in the White House. Though the president noted the Kremlin would be willing to “work with any leader who gets the confidence of the American people,” Putin said Biden is “a more experienced and predictable person,” and “a politician of the old sort.”

Trump has repeatedly boasted that he would take a tougher stance toward US adversaries than Biden, blaming the president’s “weakness” for the conflict in Ukraine, Hamas’ October 7 attack on Israel, and a recent drone strike on American troops stationed in Jordan, among other things.

“It would have never happened in Ukraine. Russia would have never gone in, would have never happened. The recent attack on Israel would have never happened,” Trump said during a Fox News town hall last month, declaring that he would achieve “peace through strength”

While in the White House, Trump regularly sought to rebut Democratic allegations that he was ‘soft’ on Moscow, largely stemming from the discredited Russiagate conspiracy theory, which claimed the Kremlin had worked with the Trump campaign to swing the 2016 election. In a social media post in 2018, he stated “There has never been a president who has been tougher (but fair) on China or Russia,” going on to slam “the Fake News” for suggesting otherwise.

Biden and Trump have pursued similarly hostile policies toward Russia, both imposing a litany of sanctions and agreeing to provide weapons to Ukraine. With the conflict in that country escalating during Biden’s stint in office, however, the US-Russia relationship has plumbed new depths, prompting an unprecedented sanctions campaign aiming to cripple the Russian economy, and a near-total breakdown in diplomacy.

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February 15, 2024 at 11:12AM

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