Trump: ‘I would get along with Putin’
Donald Trump said during the second Republican presidential debate on Wednesday he would “get along” with Russian President Vladimir Putin if elected president.
“I would get along with Putin,” he said, in response to a question about what to do about Moscow’s military support for Syrian President Bashar Assad, a U.S. enemy.
“I would talk to him, I would get along with him. I believe — and I may be wrong, in which case I’d probably have to take a different path — but I would get along with a lot of the world leaders that this country is not getting along with,” he said.
Trump argued that unlike with President Obama, world leaders such as Putin would respect him.
“He has absolutely no respect for President Obama,” he said. “I would get along with the world leaders.”
“We don’t get along with China, we don’t get along with the heads of Mexico, we don’t get along with anybody,” he added.
“We will have a much more stable world.”
Trump sought during the debate to prove his foreign policy chops, which came into question after an interview with the conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt where he appeared to mix up Iran’s Quds Force with the Kurds.
During the debate, the businessman mogul also suggested allowing the Assad regime and the Islamic State to fight each other in Syria.
“Now think of this — we’re fighting ISIS. ISIS wants to fight Syria. Why are we fighting ISIS in Syria? Let them fight each other and pick up the remnants,” he said.
Asked how his policy on Russia would be different from Trump’s, fellow candidate Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) replied: “First of all, I have an understanding of exactly what Russia and Putin are doing.”
Rubio, a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, predicted that in the next few weeks Russia would begin flying combat missions in Syria, not just targeting ISIS, but to prop up Assad.
He said Russia would then try to supplant the U.S.’s influence in the region. “He’s trying to replace us as the single most important power broker in the Middle East.”
Fellow candidate Carly Fiorina seized on Trump’s remarks.
“Having met Vladimir Putin, I wouldn’t talk to him at all. We’ve talked way too much to him,” she said, adding that she would increase the military’s presence in Europe.
“Vladimir Putin would get the message,” she said.