President Donald Trump is still deflecting criticism from what’s become a veritable nesting doll of missteps on US-Russia relations.
In an interview for CNBC, President Donald Trump decried former President Barack Obama for his supposed leniency toward Russia.
NEW — President Trump tells CNBC: Obama was a ‘patsy’ for Russia, 'I'll be the worst enemy' Vladimir Putin has ever had if relationship 'doesn't work out' https://t.co/taDZiXtZX7 pic.twitter.com/PXHuk4Nzea
— CNBC Now (@CNBCnow) July 19, 2018
The president said:
Look at the sanctions I put on, look at the diplomats I threw out…Nobody else did what I’ve done. Obama didn’t do it. Obama was a patsy for Russia, he was a total patsy.
Trump then referred to a 2012 exchange between then-President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev and then-President Obama. Caught on a hot mic, Obama discussed missile defense, telling Medvedev that he would have “more flexibility” on the issue after his election. The exchange occurred months before current Russian President Vladimir Putin took office again, and two years before Russia’s invasion of Southeastern Ukraine and annexation of Crimea, and before any evidence of attempts to meddle with United States elections came to light.
According to Trump, no one talks about the incident, yet then-Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney blasted Obama for the gaffe during the 2012 campaign. It’s also been revived as a Republican talking point since Trump’s relationship with Putin has faced increased scrutiny.
For Americans on social media, however, the 2012 exchange on a hot mic in Seoul was not enough to obscure Trump’s recent comments at a podium with the whole world watching.
Trump says “Obama was a patsy for Russia.”
I don’t totally get psychological projection.
But I’m pretty certain that means “Trump is a patsy for Russia.”
— Bryan Behar (@bryanbehar) July 20, 2018
If you’re on the right and twisting and contorting to defend Trump’s comments today, revisit what you said about Obama’s “apology tours” & his hot mic “After my election, I’ll have more flexibility” comment to Medvedev. Our country deserves our consistency. I condemn it all.
— Jedediah Bila (@JedediahBila) July 16, 2018
Trump: “Obama was a patsy for Russia. A total patsy.” He says he, conversely, is tougher than any president has been “maybe ever.”
— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) July 20, 2018
Yes, Trump has been tougher on Russia than any president, except of course Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Nixon, Ford, Reagan, Carter, both Bushes, Clinton and Obama.
— Richard Stengel (@stengel) July 20, 2018
Trump’s remarks come days after a speech given by Former President Obama at a South African celebration of the late Nelson Mandela’s 100th birthday. The speech didn’t mention Donald Trump by name, but many took Obama’s words to be in reference to the infamous Helsinki summit the day before:
Strongman politics are ascendant suddenly, whereby elections and some pretense of democracy are maintained, the form of it, but those in power seek to undermine every institution or norm that gives democracy meaning.
It’s far from the first time the former President has gotten under Trump’s skin.