While voters are questioning whether it’s true that Vladimir Putin had an effect on Donald Trump’s election as President of the United States, the President-elect quoted the Russian leader in the late hours of Friday night, echoing a sentiment about Democratic party leaders and the voting public.
Though the quote was a simple line about the election results, and doesn’t stray from Trump’s statements throughout the election and the recount saga, it is striking in two regards: one, that he openly quotes Putin during a period when there have been questions about outside tampering with the U.S election, and two, that it’s another example of attacking those on the other side of political lines, after calling for unity.
Only a few short weeks ago, Donald Trump declared “…we begin to heal our divisions and move forward as one country strengthened by a shared purpose…”
However, Friday evening Trump shared the quote from Putin on multiple social media platforms, saying that it is “humiliating” that U.S. Democrats have not taken to loss in this election better.
Vladimir Putin said today about Hillary and Dems: “In my opinion, it is humiliating. One must be able to lose with dignity.” So true!
In fact, the lauding was mutual: according to the New York Post, Vladimir Putin praised Donald Trump earlier in the day, declaring the following.
“[N]obody believed in [Trump] — except us.”
Denying that Russia had taken any official part in the hacking or leaking of documents from the Democratic party, Putin queried the following.
“The Democrats didn’t just lose the presidential election, but the House and the Senate as well. Did I do that as well?”
Trump’s apparent willingness to closely associate himself with the Russian leader is a slight contrast to earlier in the election process, when he refuted claims that he had contradicted himself by saying he wasn’t acquainted with the man.
However, Trump has also spoken positively of Putin at various points in the last year.
Whether Donald Trump caused the change or merely read it well, U.S. Republicans’ sentiment about Vladimir Putin has been shifting. Politico reports that his favorability rating with GOP voters has gone from merely 10 percent in the summer of 2014, to 37 percent this month.
The posts embody, actually, three of the things for which Trump has been criticized: aside from his purported relationship with Putin and his bashing of his opponents, Trump’s social media habits have caused concern from those who believe they may constitute a security risk, or that they may cause issues with diplomacy.
In the past two days alone, besides quoting and lauding the words of Vladimir Putin, Trump has called for an increase to nuclear weapons in the U.S., leading to fears of an arms race, and again hints at divergence from a United Nations decision.
While supporters praised Trump for a strong stance supporting Israel, other social media users suggested that he ‘take Putin’s advice’ and lose with dignity, since the popular vote went to Hillary Clinton, with Trump trailing by nearly 2.9 million votes.
Others, including some supporters, continue to tell Trump that his social media frenzy needs to come to a close.
It’s not clear how, or whether, Trump’s social media use will continue over his term as President. Engadget has noted that Donald Trump will inherit the @POTUS Twitter handle, with Obama moving to @POTUS44, but whether Donald Trump will maintain his current level of use, or whether any restrictions will be placed on that use for security purposes, has not been clearly answered by officials.
Notably, President Obama did maintain his own personal campaign account, handing off the primary use of it to a political action group, so it’s quite possible Donald Trump will continue to use his own longtime personal accounts as well as the official @POTUS handle. Whether he’ll use either or both to continue quoting Vladimir Putin remains to be seen.
[Featured Image by Drew Angerer/Getty Images]