During Friday's edition of McLaughlin Group, Chicago Tribune columnist Clarence Page claimed that Donald Trump has been "tougher on Russia" than former President Barack Obama. As reported by Breitbart, the columnist said that this record conflicts with the U.S. leader's public statements on the Kremlin, which some suggest put his loyalty to the United States into question.
"Well, I think you're right that he has a tougher on Russia record than President Obama," Page said. "He has a tougher record than he gets credit for from a lot of people, as far as the sanctions that have been leveled against Russia, etc."
Nevertheless, Page highlighted Trump's public behavior related to Russia and claimed it makes some people wonder where his allegiance lies.
"But again, when push comes to shove, Mr. President, who do you believe more, our intelligence agencies or Mr. Putin, back when he was standing right next to Mr. Putin at a news conference? He chose Putin as being more reliable than our own intelligence agencies."Per The Independent, John Herbst — a Russia scholar at the Atlantic Council — argued that Trump had taken many steps against Russia that Obama's administration was not willing to. Although Herbst claimed that the chief of state's "heart doesn't seem to be in it," he noted that the U.S. leader nevertheless appears to listen to the advisers purportedly behind his aggressive action against the Kremlin.
In an op-ed for The Washington Post, Dan Sullivan also argued that Trump has been more dogged on Russia than Obama. While he admitted the U.S. leader's rhetoric on Putin should be stronger, he pointed to the Obama administration's refusal to provide Ukraine with anti-tank weapons in their war with Russia. Conversely, Trump provided Ukraine with American Javelin anti-tank weapons systems. In addition, Sullivan noted that Trump has embraced the European Deterrence Initiative and deployed thousands of American troops to regions like Norway, Poland, and the Baltics to prevent Russia from continuing to expand its power.
Regardless, Trump's apparent affection for Putin has drawn scrutiny. As The Inquisitr reported, the head of state has been fond of the Russian strongman since before he took the White House. Notably, Trump wrote a letter to Putin in 2007 to congratulate him on winning TIME magazine's Man of the Year award.
While many have suggested that Trump's closeness with Putin is dangerous to the United States, others indicate the speculation is an attempt to undermine the head of state. In particular, critics of Robert Mueller's investigation into the 2016 Trump campaign's alleged ties to Russia point to reports that the Steele dossier that fueled the probe contained Russian disinformation.