Donald Trump Fawned Over ‘Strong, Smart’ Vladimir Putin To Aides After Meeting, ‘Washington Post’ Reports

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Donald Trump was full of praise for Vladimir Putin after their private meeting this week, a new report claims.

The president is facing criticism for the closed-door meeting with the Russian president, which came just two days after the announcement of indictments against 12 Russian military officers for hacking the emails of the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign chief. Despite the pressure, Trump instead was full of effusive praise for the Russian president, the Washington Post reported.

The report noted that Trump told aides after the meeting that Putin appeared “strong, smart, and cunning.” The report noted that Trump felt happy as the summit ended and he did two praising interviews with Fox News in the immediate aftermath. But he was soon stung by widespread negative coverage — including the New York Times that called the summit “too friendly” — and the failure of news outlets to parrot his conspiracy theories regarding the DNC.

“Trump himself was flummoxed,” the report noted. “He waxed on about his impressions of Putin up close — strong, smart and cunning, in Trump’s assessment — and told associates that he viewed the Russian as a formidable adversary with whom he relishes interactions. He also was furious with the negative media coverage of a summit that he felt had been a clear success. And he complained to some about what he viewed as an undercovered angle of the election controversy: That the Democratic National Committee allowed its server to be hacked.”

The report also claimed that Trump was mad that reporters posed tough questions for him in the press conference with Vladimir Putin, lamenting that an Associated Press reporter was called on rather than a more friendly reporter who would not have asked such a difficult question.

The criticism of Donald Trump has increased after an announcement this week that he invited Vladimir Putin to Washington in the fall. Though Trump may have been full of praise for Vladimir Putin in the aftermath of the summit, critics have not shared the assessment and have painted Trump as subservient to the Russian president. At a rally in Kansas on Friday, Senator Bernie Sanders claimed that Trump has been tougher on immigrant children than he has on the adversarial Russian president.

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Donald Trump had often been criticized for his light treatment of Vladimir Putin despite Russia’s interference in the 2016 election. In past visits to Europe, critics said that Trump has been harder on NATO allies yet friendly and cordial with Putin.