Praising Vladimir Putin, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has said the Russian President was “far more” of a leader than US President Barack Obama and asserted that he would have a “very good relationship” with the Kremlin strongman if he comes to power.
“I think I would have a very, very good relationship with Putin. And I think I would have a very, very good relationship with Russia,” Trump said at a ‘commander in chief’ forum on the decommissioned USS Intrepid, now a floating museum, here yesterday.
The forum hosted by NBC brought Trump and his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton together just weeks before they square off at the first presidential debate on September 26.
However Clinton and Trump did not come face to face at the forum as they were grilled back-to-back by the anchor.
Trump asserted that he would have a very good relationship with many foreign leaders, unlike President Obama, who he said was not accorded a red carpet welcome when he went to China recently.
“I think it’s very sad, when you look at Barack Obama, as an example, lands Air Force One in China, and they don’t want to put out stairs to get off the plane. And he has to use the stairs that mechanics use to get up and down to fix the plane. They wouldn’t give him stairs,” the 70-year-old real estate tycoon said.
“I think it’s very sad, when he lands in Saudi Arabia, and he lands in Cuba, and there aren’t high officials to even greet him. This is the first time in the history — the storied history of Air Force One,” Trump said.
Trump said while Obama and Putin do not get along, he will have very good relations with the Russian leader.
“And I saw, just two or three days ago, they looked like they were not exactly getting along, but I looked at President Obama and Putin staring at each other. These were not two people that were getting along,” he said.
“And, you know, the beautiful part of getting along, Russia wants to defeat ISIS as badly as we do. If we had a relationship with Russia, wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could work on it together and knock the hell out of ISIS? Wouldn’t that be a wonderful thing,” Trump asserted.
Asked if he would like to be complimented by a leader who “annexed Crimea, invaded Ukraine, supports (President Bashar) Assad in Syria, Trump said if Putin “says great things about me, I’m going to say great things about him.”
“I’ve already said, he is really very much of a leader. I mean, you can say, oh, isn’t that a terrible thing — the man has very strong control over a country,” he said.
Trump has made no secret of his admiration for Putin, who last year praised the US businessman as “very outstanding.”
Putin “has very strong control over a country,” Trump said.
“It’s a very different system, and I don’t happen to like the system. But certainly in that system he’s been a leader, far more than our president has been a leader.”
“We have a divided country. We have a country where you have Hillary Clinton with her e-mails that nobody’s ever seen where she deletes 33,000 e-mails, and that’s after getting a subpoena from Congress. If you do that in private business, you get thrown in jail,” Trump said.
On his plans to defeat ISIS, Trump said the generals under Obama and Clinton have not been successful.
“I think under the leadership of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, the generals have been reduced to rubble. They have been reduced to a point where it’s embarrassing for our country,” he said.
When asked what his plan is to defeat ISIS, Trump said he will not disclose his plan just like Obama does.
“I have a plan. I don’t want to broadcast to the enemy exactly what my plan is. If I like maybe a combination of my plan and the generals’ plan, or the generals’ plan, if I like their plan, I’m not going to call you up and say, ‘Matt, we have a great plan’. This is what Obama does. We’re going to leave Iraq on a certain day,” Trump said.
Part of the problem plaguing the US is that it goes to war and “then we don’t know what we’re doing after that, he said.
“We lose it, like as an example, you look at Iraq, what happened, how badly that was handled. And then when President Obama took over, likewise, it was a disaster. It was actually somewhat stable. I don’t think could ever be very stable to where we should have never gone into in the first place.
“But he came in. He said when we go out, and he took everybody out. And really, ISIS was formed. This was a terrible decision. And frankly, we never even got a shot. And if you really look at the aftermath of Iraq, Iran is going to be taking over Iraq. They’ve been doing it. And it’s not a pretty picture,” Trump said.
He suggested that if the US was going to get out of Iraq, it should take the oil with it.
“If we would have taken the oil, you wouldn’t have ISIS, because ISIS formed with the power and the wealth of that oil,” Trump said.
When asked how the US could take the oil, he said, “just we would leave a certain group behind and you would take various sections where they have the oil. They have, people don’t know this about Iraq, but they have among the largest oil reserves in the world, in the entire world”.
Trump was also asked about the two intelligence briefings he received and whether there was anything in the briefing that shocked or alarmed him.
“Yes. Very much so. I have great respect for the people that gave us the briefings. They were experts on Iraq and Iran and different parts of — and Russia. But, yes, there was one thing that shocked me. And it just seems to me that what they said President Obama and Hillary Clinton and John Kerry, who is another total disaster, did exactly the opposite.
“What I did learn (from the briefing) is that our leadership, Barack Obama, did not follow what our experts and our truly — when they call it intelligence, it’s there for a reason — what our experts said to do,” Trump added.