Tony Schwartz, co-author of Donald Trump's Art of the Deal, has noted that Trump "does not have close friends outside of his family."
Well, Trump is simply giddy! He finally has a friend. Russian president Vladimir Putin likes him!
By way of background, it seems that Trump has had fantasies of being pals with Putin for some time. In the September GOP presidential debate, he asserted how well he would "get along" with Putin. And in the debate last month, Trump said this about Putin, " . . . I got to know him very well because we were both on 60 Minutes, we were stablemates, and we did very well that night."
Oops. It turns out the Putin interview was by Charley Rose in Moscow, and Scott Pelley went to Trump's New York penthouse to speak with him. In fact, Trump has NEVER met Putin.
But Thursday Putin did give a shout-out of sorts to Trump. According to Russian news agency TASS, Putin said of Trump, "That is none of our business to evaluate his accomplishments but he remains the absolute front-runner in the presidential race. He is an outstanding and talented personality without any doubts."
In addition, Putin is quoted as stating "He says he will want to reach another, deeper, level of relations [with Russia]. What else can we do but to welcome it? Certainly , we welcome it."
And reportedly Putin told ABC News that Trump is "a very colorful person."
All things considered, Putin's remarks seem diplomatic and measured. It is true that Trump has a big persona, is colorful, and is the GOP frontrunner.
Trump was delighted that Putin called out to him, reportedly telling ABC news, "It is always a great honor to be so nicely complimented by a man so highly respected within his own country and beyond."
Great honor? I think there is a difference between being honored and being honorable.
Yesterday Trump appeared on MSNBC with Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski when the following exchange occurred.
Brzezinski: Do you like Vladimir Putin's comments about you?
Trump: Sure, when people call you 'brilliant' it's always good. Especially when the person heads up Russia.
Scarborough: Well, I mean, it's also a person who kills journalists, political opponents, and invades countries. Obviously that would be a concern, would it not?
Trump: He's running his country, and at least he's a leader, you know, unlike what we have in this country.
Scarborough: But again, he kills journalists that don't agree with him.
Trump: I think our country does plenty of killing, also, Joe, so, you know.
There's a lot of stupidity going on in the world right now, Joe. A lot of killing going on. A lot of stupidity. And that's the way it is. But you didn't ask me the question, you asked me a different question. So that's fine.
Scarborough: I'm confused. So I mean, you obviously condemn Vladimir Putin killing journalists and political opponents, right?"
Trump: Oh sure, absolutely.
I am trying to fully understand Trump's comment that "Our country does plenty of killing . . ." Is he suggesting that there is a moral equivalency between Russia's conduct and that of the US? It seems to me that we target enemy combatants, not journalists.
Apparently love is indeed blind -- with only 56 days remaining until Valentine's Day.
Trump does seem to more forgiving of Putin than he is of one our great allies, German Chancellor Angela Merkel. When she was named TIME Magazine's Person of the Year instead of Trump, he tweeted "I told you @TIME Magazine would never pick me as person of the year despite being the big favorite They picked person who is ruining Germany."
Yes, he said "ruining," not "running" Germany. Is he nostalgic for a Germany from another era?