Speaking Thursday at a campaign rally in Montana where he endorsed Republican state auditor Matt Rosendale — who is running for United States Senate against incumbent Democrat Jon Tester, CNN reported — Donald Trump made some bizarre comments about his upcoming one-on-one meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, which is set for July 16 in Helsinki, Finland.
At the rally, Trump not only characterized Putin — who is confirmed by multiple investigations to have ordered the 2016 cyber attack against the U.S. presidential election, as the Inquisitr reported — as “fine,” but he also appeared to ridicule the claim that Putin before the fall of the Soviet Union was an operative for the dreaded Soviet secret police and spy agency known as the KGB.
“They’re going ‘Will President Trump be prepared, you know, President Putin is KGB and this and that,'” Trump said during his speech at Four Seasons Arena in Great Falls, Montana, The Daily Beast reported. “You know what? Putin’s fine. He’s fine. We’re all fine. We’re people. Will I be prepared? Totally prepared. I’ve been preparing for this stuff my whole life.”
In fact, Putin was an agent of the KGB for 17 years from shortly after his college graduation in 1974, according to The Guardian newspaper, until he retired in August of 1991 as the Soviet Union was in the process of coming apart. The USSR finally fell for good four months later.
The KGB itself closed its doors in November of 1991, three months after Putin quit his post there, to be replaced by a new security service known as the FSB, as History.com records. But Putin never fully relinquished his KGB contacts.
“It is entirely likely that Putin kept in touch with his former KGB associates after 1991, while serving in the St. Petersburg mayor’s office,” The Guardian noted. “And it is true that Putin has brought many of his former KGB colleagues with him to the highest levels of government.”
Putin himself has said, in a Moscow Times interview from January of this year, that his experience as a KGB agent is what prepared him to become Russia’s president. Asked whether he has “altered his behavior” as president from when he was in the KGB, Putin answered, “As strange as it sounds, no.”
“Yes, I’m in the limelight,” Putin told the Moscow Times. “But in my previous life I always tried to act as if I was constantly being watched. It’s strange, but that’s how it worked out, perhaps because of my previous work.”
But Trump would not be the first U.S. leader to completely misread the former KGB agent who has been at the helm of America’s chief world adversary nation for almost 19 years.
In 2001, shortly after Putin was first elected Russia’s president — in a vote condemned as “rigged” by investigators who found evidence of widespread ballot-box stuffing, according to the BBC — the then-new United States President George W. Bush claimed that after meeting Putin, the two had developed a warm relationship, because, Bush said, “I looked the man in the eye… I was able to get a sense of his soul.”
“I found him to be very straightforward and trustworthy and we had a very good dialogue,” Bush said at the time, as quoted by the BBC. “He’s a man deeply committed to his country and the best interests of his country and I appreciate very much the frank dialogue and that’s the beginning of a very constructive relationship.”
Ahead of his June 12 one-on-one meeting with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, Trump also claimed that he had been “preparing all my life” for just such a meeting, as ABC News reported.
But shortly after the meeting, despite Trump’s claim that his negotiations with Kim had rendered North Korea “no longer a nuclear threat,” as the Inquisitr reported, two weeks after the meeting satellite images revealed that new construction continued at North Korea’s only nuclear reactor, as the Inquisitr also noted.
On July 2, the Washington Post reported that despite Trump’s claims, U.S. intelligence agencies had found evidence that North Korea “does not intend to fully surrender its nuclear stockpile, and instead is considering ways to conceal the number of weapons it has and secret production facilities.”