Trump wants stronger relations with Russia and to work with them to defeat ISIS.
HOWARD KURTZ: Vladimir Putin bear hugged you, practically endorsed you, said you’re an outstanding man unquestionably talented and welcoming your call for tighter and deeper relations with Russia. Could Putin’s praise signal to voters that you’re not taking a tough enough approach toward Russia?
DONALD TRUMP: It could and the smart people would say that’s a great thing. What do we need problems for? Obama and Putin don’t get along. What do we need problems for Howard? I mean yeah it was very nice, he said great things, he even called me brilliant isn’t that nice?
KURTZ: You said that was an honor.
TRUMP: Of course it’s an honor. I think it’s an honor. I’m not talking about... hey I compliment people sometimes maybe sometimes you don’t mean it I think he meant it. I’ll tell you what what’s the purpose of it? Why is he doing it? I do feel that Russia instead of being this group that we don’t talk to that we’re always fighting I think they can be used for the good. We want to knock out ISIS. They want to knock out ISIS just as much as us. I mean they’re knocking out airplanes that are Russian owned airplanes.
KURTZ: Russia has troops in Ukraine. Russia is propping up Assad in Syria. Do you want a friendly relationship with Russia or an adversarial one?
TRUMP: Well let’s start off with Assad. First of all we’re fighting Assad and we’re fighting ISIS and Assad is fighting ISIS. We don’t know what the hell we’re doing. We’ve got all these fights going on we don’t know what we’re doing. You got to go one at a time. We have to get rid of ISIS. That’s the most important, we have to do that fast and we have to do that powerfully and get it done. As far as Assad you wait, just wait. Now Russia is on the side of Assad. So is Iran, so are other people. And I just think that the first thing we have to do is we have to knock the hell out of ISIS. It’s so important. We can worry about Assad…Assad’s a bad guy but you know what? The people that we’re backing might be worse. And we’ve seen that between Libya and Iraq and all these people we get rid of all these so called strong men or the dictators or whatever you want to call them. And then it ends up being ten times worse. Look if we had spent zero dollars in Iraq and all of the places over there we would have been in much better shape than we are right now. Right now the Middle East is a powder keg. Whether you like Saddam Hussein or not (and who likes him?) he was great at one thing: he killed terrorists. There were no terrorists. They were executing terrorists on a daily basis. Now it’s the Harvard of terrorism. You want to be a terrorist you go to Iraq. So we have really messed up in the Middle East. And by the way I think Russia can be a positive force and an ally as opposed to always fighting with Russia.
Clinton says we have to stand up to Putin’s bullying and take more of a leadership position regarding Syria.
“But what Secretary Carter is looking at is the constant pressure that Russia’s putting on our European allies. The way that Russia is trying to move the boundaries of the post World War II Europe, the way that he is trying to set European countries against one another, seizing territory, holding it in Crimea, beginning to explore whether they could make some inroads in the Baltic’s. We know that they are deeply engaged in supporting Assad because they want to have a place in the Middle East. They have a naval base, they have an air base in Syria; they want to hang on to that. And I think what Secretary Carter is seeing and I’m glad he is is that we’ve got to get NATO back working for the common defense. We’ve got to do more to support our partners in NATO and we have to send a very clear message to Putin that this kind of belligerence, this kind of testing of boundaries will have to be responded to and the best way to do that is to put more armor in, put more money from the Europeans in so they’re actually contributing more to their own.”
“There’s no doubt that when Putin came back in and said he was going to be president that did change the relationship. We have to stand up to his bullying and specifically in Syria. It is important and I applaud the administration because they are engaged in talks with the Russians to make it clear that they’ve got to be part of the solution to try to end that bloody conflict and to provide safe zones so that people are not going to have to be flooding out of Syria at the rate they are. And I think it’s important too that the United States make it very clear to Putin that it’s not acceptable for him to be in Syria creating more chaos, bombing people on behalf of Assad, and we can’t do that if we don’t take more of a leadership position which is what I’m advocating.”