Henderson: Why Donald Trump Loves Putin

The Man Crush Is Very Real

Whether Donald Trump was serious about suggesting Russian hackers should find Hillary Clinton’s missing emails or, as he later said, was just being sarcastic is beside the point.

Going back almost 10 years, it’s possible to find suggestions of Trump’s Bro crush on the Russian leader. Just last year, he told Bill O’Reilly on Fox that “[Putin] is getting an A and our president is not doing so well.”

So let’s examine what it is that Trump so admires.

Say goodbye to the First Amendment. According to the Human Rights Watch organization, the Kremlin in 2015 “further intensified harassment and persecution of independent critics.”
A 4

And if citizens are caught participating in whatever the government decides is a riot, they can get 15 years in prison.

An official for HRW told qz.com that, “They have taken authoritarianism to a whole new level.”

Amnesty International reported, “Growing numbers of individuals were arrested and criminally charged for criticizing state policy and publicly displaying or possessing materials deemed extremist or otherwise unlawful under vague national security legislation.”

Attention, Second Amendment fans: While citizens in Russia can buy weapons for protection, there are strict limits on the type of ammunition that can be used and magazine capacity. There are also limits on the type of firearms that can be purchased; handguns generally are a no-no.

Vladimir Putin

And if someone tries to give a Russian citizen a gun as a gift or inheritance that person has to first prove they have a license.

I think you get the point.

That “strength” and “leadership” Trump says he admires in Putin would get any president in the United States impeached. That doesn’t mean Trump wouldn’t push the envelope as far as possible were he to be elected.

On Wednesday, for instance, a Washington Post reporter was barred from entering a rally for Mike Pence, Trump’s running mate. The reporter was patted down and searched by police to see if he had a cell phone (he didn’t), and was then told he couldn’t enter because a security man said, “I don’t want you here.”

By the way, that rally wasn’t in Moscow, but you could see something similar happening there.

Vladimir Putin

Putin is all about control, even if it means bending or ignoring laws or common decency. Trump seems to have modeled his campaign after that. And what his supporters praise now is Trump’s leadership and decisiveness would likely turn to horror if he wins election and tries the same stuff.

I don’t think for a second the majority of Trump voters want to see America’s basic laws trampled. I think they’re just tired of the status quo in Washington and are drawn to Trump’s swagger.

But campaigning is not the same as governing, and if Trump gives Putin an “A” grade now then why wouldn’t he want to try to emulate that in Washington? He certainly shows no sign of backing off.

In an interview Thursday on Fox, Trump said, “I said he’s a better leader than Obama. 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.”

Putin has repeatedly complimented and praised Trump while his relationship with Obama remains icy. Trump’s backers say that’s because Putin respects strength. Or maybe, it’s just a bully knowing another when he sees one.