Trump’s boasting of Putin’s support comes a day after The Washington Post reported that White House advisers feared Trump’s belief that Ukraine, not Russia, was responsible for interfering with the 2016 election was spurred by conversations Trump had with Putin.
Trump’s critics responded to the tweet, expressing exasperation more than incredulity.
“At the end of the day, it’s always Putin First,” wrote conservative commentator and “Never Trumper” Bill Kristol.
“Trump wants us to know that Putin has his back. We know,” tweeted Eric Columbus, a former Justice Department appointee in the Obama administration.
“Putin is a dictator who jails opponents, kills opponents, invades neighbors, interferes in democracies’ elections, etc. I don’t think an American president should be buddying with him. I wonder if Trump defenders are ever (secretly) embarrassed by this stuff. I hope so,” wrote Jay Nordlinger, a senior editor at the right-leaning National Review.
At his annual end-of-the-year news conference on Thursday, Putin was asked about Trump’s impeachment. He called the charges “completely fabricated reasons.”
That evening, Russian state media, which follows Putin’s lead, also threw its support behind Trump.
Popular Kremlin propagandist Vladimir Soloviev gave an impassioned defense of Trump on his evening show, raising his voice several times in a discussion with Atlantic Council expert Ariel Cohen.
“I can’t understand for what reason [Democrats] don’t like Trump,” Soloviev said.
Days earlier, on his two-hour Sunday night program, anchor Dmitry Kiselyov opined about how Hollywood has joined the Democrats in being against Trump, portraying him as “always on the dark side.”
And the state-sponsored Rossiya-1 news channel, which airs Soloviev’s show, recently broadcast segments of Rudolph W. Giuliani’s interview with right-wing channel One America News, in which the president’s personal attorney promoted debunked conspiracy theories about Ukrainian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
Khurshudyan reported from Moscow.