NEWARK: One day after President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin made little headway in their standoff over Syria at their first formal meeting in more than two years, Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump is agreeing with Putin on his backing of Syrian President Bashar Assad.
Speaking on Fox News Channel’s “The O’Reilly Factor” Tuesday evening, the billionaire businessman and Republican presidential front-runner praised Russia’s recent military buildup in in Syria and expressed little concern for Putin’s support for his longtime Syrian ally.
“If he wants to fight ISIS, let him fight ISIS,” Trump said in an interview taped at his Trump Tower skyscraper in Manhattan.
“I say there’s very little downside with Putin fighting ISIS,” he added.
The US has long insisted that Syria’s future cannot include Assad. But Putin has cast Assad’s government as the best defense against Islamic State militants, a group the US is also working to defeat.
Trump also suggested that Assad, who has used barrel bombs and chemical weapons against civilians, was preferable to other potential options.
“Personally, I’ve been looking at the different players and I’ve been watching Assad,” Trump said, ” … and I’m looking at Assad and saying maybe he’s better than the kind of people that we’re supposed to be backing because we don’t even know who we’re backing. We have no idea.”
Trump has long predicted that he would get along well with Putin and declared Monday that, “Putin is a nicer person than I am.” He repeated his criticism that Putin is the better leader when compared with Obama.
“I will tell you that, in terms of leadership, he’s getting an ‘A’ and our president is not doing so well,” he said. “They did not look good together.”
You can dislike Trump all you want, and for whatever reason you want, but do any of you disagree with his statement, one that, once again, no other American presidential candidates have the courage to utter?
Please speak freely in the comments under the flag of political truce and in the spirit of good discourse.