The president has faced criticisms about his relationship with Putin since the 2016 election. Those criticisms escalated throughout the two-year investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller as he investigated whether Trump colluded with the Russians to bolster his election odds.
Mueller found no evidence of a criminal conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Putin, but individuals like Congressman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) still refuse to believe that Trump didn’t collude, as IJR previously reported.
Despite his critics, President Trump has maintained that another Clinton presidency would have only made Russia and Putin stronger. During an interview on Fox News, Trump explained to host Steve Hilton why his actions as president have made the U.S. stronger and Russia’s economy weaker.
Watch Trump’s comments:
“Nobody’s been tougher to Russia than me. Take a look at the pipeline, what I’ve done. Take a look at energy. Russia makes their money, they live off energy. What I’ve done with energy in this country, we’re now the number one in the world. That wouldn’t have happened if Hillary got in or somebody else got in. Probably even if another Republican got in.”
Trump noted that his strength against Russia isn’t limited to taking their share of the market on energy or hitting them with tough sanctions. He claimed that his efforts to rebuild the U.S. military and strengthen eastern European allies have left Putin cornered in a way the Obama administration never did.
“What we’ve done in terms of the military, what we’ve done in terms of Ukraine. [Former President Barack] Obama used to give them pillows and blankets and we gave them things that they can fight with. And I think Putin would be the first to say that he would have been much better off with Hillary Clinton as president than he is with Trump.”
Trump is not the only one who has called into question the Obama administration’s response to Russia and Putin. As IJR previously reported, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell also laid out the weaknesses in that administration’s policy toward Russia.