Vladimir Putin was one of the first world leaders to reach out to Donald Trump in 2016, calling to offer his congratulations within hours of the real estate mogul's surprising win. Putin has not been so fast to reach out to president-elect Joe Biden this time around.
As CBS News reported, the Russian leader has not yet offered public congratulations to the Democratic candidate, who is projected to win over Trump once the results are certified. Though it has been nearly a week, the Kremlin is reportedly holding back from officially acknowledging his apparent victory due to Trump publicly disputing the vote counts, claiming that there was widespread fraud benefitting his opponent but not yet offering evidence of the claims.
On Monday, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters that "it is proper to wait for an official announcement." When asked why Putin was quick to congratulate Trump after Election Day in 2016, Peskov noted that Trump has outstanding legal challenges to the results in several states -- an avenue that Hillary Clinton did not pursue after her loss in 2016.
"Obviously, you can see that certain legal procedures are coming there, which were announced by the incumbent president — therefore this situation is different, so we consider it correct to wait for the official announcement," he said, via the Associated Press.
Many of the lawsuits have been quickly dismissed, and opponents have accused Trump of trying to undermine the legitimacy of his opponent's victory while failing to back up any of his allegations with proof. Peskov indicated that Putin would look forward to working with the incoming administration, but was being patient until the legal issues had been resolved.
"President Putin has repeatedly said that he will show respect for any choice of the American people and will be ready to work with any president-elect of the United States," he said.
The 2020 election results were also delayed later than they were four years prior, with news networks not calling the race in favor of Biden until Saturday when the state of Pennsylvania had counted enough absentee and mail-in ballots to show an insurmountable lead for the Democratic candidate.
Trump has been criticized for what some saw as a too-close relationship with Putin, with critics accusing him of failing to forcefully push back on Russia's interference in the 2016 presidential election. Trump also came under fire for appearing to side with Putin and against the findings of the American intelligence community, with the Russian leader denying that his country meddled in the race. As The Inquisitr reported, Trump also broke with his administration in offering a congratulation to the Russian leader on his win in 2018.
A number of other world leaders have already reached out to congratulate Biden and pledge to work with him once he takes office, including Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who said he spoke to the president-elect by phone on Monday.