Russian President Vladimir Putin had high praise for Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump in a press conference in Moscow on Thursday. Putin called Trump a “very flamboyant man” and “the absolute leader of the presidential race” after earlier saying Russia never interferes in US elections.
“He is a very bright and talented man, no doubt about that,” said Putin, speaking after his annual press conference in Moscow on Thursday. “He is the absolute leader of the presidential race, as we see it today. He says that he wants to move to another level of relations, to a deeper level of relations with Russia. How can we not welcome that? Of course we welcome it.”
“We have never closed ourselves off, whomever is elected there. It is they who are always trying to ‘help out’ with what needs to be done inside our country, who should be elected and who shouldn’t, in what way,” Putin said. “We never do this, never interfere.”
In October, Trump said of Putin,
“He does not like [Barack] Obama at all. He doesn’t respect Obama at all. And I’m sure that Obama doesn’t like him very much. But I think that I would probably get along with him very well. And I don’t think you’d be having the kind of problems that you’re having right now.”
Trump also famously implied he met Putin while the pair were “stablemates” on an episode of 60 Minutes in which they both were interviewed. Said Trump, “I got to know him very well because we were both on 60 Minutes. We were stablemates, and we did very well that night.” However, Trump and Putin were never actually in the same place; Putin’s interview was filmed in Moscow and Trump’s in New York.
Watch Putin’s praise for Trump below: