Trump, former secretary of state Mike Pompeo praise Putin while bashing Biden

Approved ~ Primus Pilus

Donald Trump and his former secretary of state Mike Pompeo are heaping praise on Vladimir Putin as the Russian president openly moves combat troops into Ukraine.

“Here’s a guy who’s very savvy,” Trump said of Putin in a recent media appearance. “We could use that on our southern border.”

“He is a very talented statesman. He has lots of gifts,” he told Fox News last month. “He was a KGB agent, for goodness sakes. He knows how to use power. We should respect that.”

In another interview last week, Pompeo said, “I have enormous respect for him – I’ve been criticized for saying that.”

By comparison, Pompeo has accused Biden of showing “enormous weakness” and leading “an America on its back, an America that apologizes.” In an interview with Fox News on Tuesday, Pompeo accused Biden of giving Putin a “green light for continued aggression” by not imposing sanctions sooner.

Democrats accused Pompeo of trying to emulate his former boss.

“Four years of watching Donald Trump praise and enable Vladimir Putin has apparently rubbed off on Mike Pompeo,” the Democratic National Committee said on Twitter.

Fox News host Tucker Carlson has spent weeks downplaying the invasion as Putin amassed troops around Ukraine and questioned why the US was supporting Ukraine instead of Russia.

The rhetoric marks a massive shift in conservative views on Russia after Trump spent years trying to cozy up to Putin. A Gallup poll in 2018 found that 40% of Republicans viewed Russia as friendly or an ally, nearly doubling the rate from four years earlier. A Yahoo News/YouGov poll last month found that 62% of Republicans view Putin as a “stronger leader” than Biden, compared to just 4% who view Biden as stronger.

“Shame on them,” John Sipher, a former CIA official who oversaw the agency’s Russia operations, told Yahoo News when asked about the poll. “Vladimir Putin hates the United States. He wants to do everything he can to weaken the United States around the world. He’s attacked our troops in Afghanistan. He’s undercut every foreign policy issue, [including] foreign policy issues that Republicans have supported for years around the world. He’s assassinating people around the world…That’s incredibly, incredibly myopic, political, silly kind of thinking.”

Pollsters have been alarmed by the shift as well. Carl Cannon, the executive editor of the poll aggregation outlet RealClearPolitics, said it was “disturbing” that the number of Republicans who viewed Russia as friendly had doubled during Trump’s administration.


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