Saturday, July 07, 2018

The U.S. Public Sees Trump As Being Too Soft On Putin

One of the first things Donald Trump tried to do after being sworn in was to move to remove the economic sanctions that had been put on Russia. Congress had to step in and stop him. When Congress later put more sanctions on Russia, Trump refused to impose them. Trump still says the Russians didn't interfere with the 2016 U.S. election, and says he believes Putin's denials -- in spite of the fact that the evidence is now clear that Russia did interfere in that election (and is preparing to do it again in 2018).

It's easy to see why the public doesn't think Trump sees Putin like they see him. About 15% of the public has a favorable view of the Russian president, and 63% have an unfavorable opinion. But 51% of the public thinks Trump has a favorable opinion of Putin, and only 25% think Trump's opinion of Putin is unfavorable.

I agree with the public's opinion. Trump has made it plain that he admires Putin. And since Trump got so easily played by Kim Jong-Un, what will happen when Trump meets with Putin (who is much more savvy than Kim Jong-Un). I especially worry about what Trump will give up in their secret one-on-one meeting (with no aides around to help him). Will Putin play him like a fiddle? Probably!

And it didn't help that seven Republican senators (Kennedy, Shelby, Moran, Then, Hoeven, Daines, and Johnson) and a Republican House member (Granger) spent the Fourth of July holiday in Russia. They said they were going to make it clear to Russia that they would be tough on them if they tried to interfere with the coming election, but that doesn't seem to have happened. One Russian official said the meeting with Republicans was one of the easiest meetings of his life!

Have the Republicans completely abandoned their tough stance on Russia? Are they now ready to follow Trump in his appeasement of Putin and Russia. Did their trip just assure Putin that no matter how many times Trump kisses his butt, they will still support Trump?

This is still a very dangerous world, and giving in to the wishes of the Russian dictator will not make it safer. But that seems to be what Trump is willing to do.

The charts above are from the Economist / YouGov Poll -- done between July 1st and 3rd of a national sample of 1,500 adults, with a margin of error of 3 points.

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