WASHINGTON – U.S. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has often praised Russian President Vladimir Putin, calling him a “strong leader.”
While Trump frequently has said that Putin called him a “genius,” the Russian president has only said that Trump is “flamboyant” and “very talented.”
Oct. 15, 2007: In an interview with Larry King on CNN, Trump praised Putin. “Look at Putin. What he’s doing with Russia. I mean, you know, what’s going on over there. I mean this guy has done, whether you like him or don’t like him, he’s doing a great job,” Trump said.
Sept. 12, 2013: In an interview with Greta Van Susteren of Fox News, Trump praised an opinion piece by Putin published by The New York Times criticizing Democratic U.S. President Barack Obama.
Sept. 29, 2015: Trump praised Putin in an interview with Fox News’s Bill O’Reilly, saying, “He’s getting an A and our president is not doing so well.”
Oct. 11, 2015: Trump said on CBS’s “Face The Nation” that he and Putin would “get along very well. … We were on ’60 Minutes’ together, and we had fantastic ratings.”
Dec. 17, 2015: Putin, in a news conference in Moscow, described Trump as “a very flamboyant man, very talented.” He said Trump wants a “deeper level of relations” with Russia.
Dec. 17, 2015: Trump responded to Putin’s remarks, saying the United States and Russia could work together to defeat terrorism. “It is always a great honor to be so nicely complimented by a man so highly respected within his own country and beyond,” Trump said of Putin’s comments.
Dec. 18, 2015: Asked on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” about Putin’s killing of journalists and political opponents, Trump replied: “Our country does plenty of killing also, Joe, so you know. There’s a lot of stupidity going on in the world right now, a lot of killing, a lot of stupidity.” On whether he would condemn Putin’s tactics, Trump said, “Sure, absolutely.”
Dec. 19, 2015: Trump told a crowd in Iowa his Republican rivals are “jealous as hell” Putin talked about him, not them. “They’re jealous as hell because he’s not mentioning these people,” Trump said.
Dec. 20, 2015: Trump said in an interview with NBC’s Chuck Todd on “Meet the Press” that Putin is a “strong leader” but denied he was praising the Russian leader. “He praised me. He called me brilliant. He said very nice things about me.”
Dec. 20, 2015: Trump, in an interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, said there is no proof of the criticism of Putin. “In all fairness to Putin, you’re saying he killed people. I haven’t seen that. I don’t know that he has. Have you been able to prove that? Do you know the names of the reporters that he’s killed?”
Feb. 1, 2016: At a rally in Iowa, Trump said, “Now, Putin called me a genius by the way. He said ‘Donald Trump is a genius, and he’s the absolute leader over there.’ “
Feb. 2, 2016: At a rally in Pendleton, South Carolina, Trump said, “You saw where Putin said these great things about Donald Trump. … He said Trump is a genius.”
Feb. 17, 2016: At a town hall campaign event in Bluffton, South Carolina, Trump was asked to describe his relationship with Putin and said, “I have no relationship with him other than he called me a genius.”
March 10, 2016: Trump, in a Republican primary debate in Miami, said he was not “endorsing” Putin when asked about his praise of dictators. But he added, “Putin has been a very strong leader for Russia. I think he has been a lot stronger than our leader.”
April 4, 2016: At a rally in Superior, Wisconsin, Trump said, “I like him because he called me a genius.”
April 17, 2016: In New York City, Trump said, “You know, Vladimir Putin said Donald Trump is a genius.”
May 4, 2016: Trump on CNN’s “Situation Room” said of Putin, “He said Trump is a genius, OK?”
June 17, 2016: At the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, Putin said he described Trump as “flamboyant.” With a smile, Putin added, “He is, isn’t he? … I did not give any other assessment of him.”