Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Friday July 29, 2016
Donald Trump Again Praises Putin’s Leadership, Saying It’s Better Than Obama’s
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Donald J. Trump called President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia “a better leader” than President Obama, offering the praise in an interview with “Fox and Friends” on Thursday, just a day after saying he hoped Russian intelligence services had successfully hacked Hillary Clinton’s email.
Asked about comments he had made Wednesday at a news conference in Florida, where he said, “Putin has much better leadership qualities than Obama,” Mr. Trump reiterated his views in slightly starker terms.
“I said he’s a better leader than Obama,” Mr. Trump said. “I said he’s a better leader than Obama, because Obama’s not a leader, so he’s certainly doing a better job than Obama is, and that’s all.”
Mr. Trump also tried to walk back, in part, comments he made Wednesday about Russia hacking Mrs. Clinton’s emails — an extraordinary moment in which the Republican nominee basically urged Russia, an adversary, to conduct cyberespionage against a former secretary of state.
“Of course, I’m being sarcastic,” Mr. Trump said in the interview taped Wednesday that aired Thursday morning. “But you have 33,000 emails deleted, and the real problem is what was said in those emails from the Democratic National Committee. You take a look at what was said in those emails, it’s disgraceful. It’s disgraceful.”
Mr. Trump seemed to be conflating the roughly 30,000 emails on Mrs. Clinton’s private server during her time as secretary of state, which her lawyers deleted as personal, and the roughly 20,000 emails Democratic National Committee emails that had been hacked.
Mr. Trump’s comments Wednesday about Russian hacking set off a firestorm of criticism, and his efforts to recalibrate his remarks began just hours after he looked into a bank of television cameras and declared, “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing.”
Mr. Trump posted on Twitter on Wednesday that he was simply urging Russia — if it had indeed hacked Mrs. Clinton — to hand her emails over to the proper authorities. “If Russia or any other country or person has Hillary Clinton’s 33,000 illegally deleted emails, perhaps they should share them with the F.B.I!” Mr. Trump wrote. (Source: New York Times)