This Donald Trump-Russia Conspiracy Theory Could Explain A Lot...
As the Republican National Convention has been doing its thing this week — horrifying the world, solidifying its nominee — some spectators worry that businessman Donald Trump might not actually have the country's best interest at heart. At least, not the United States' best interests. After the New York Times published a piece in which Trump suggested that he might not defend NATO members from an attack from Russia was published, people have taken to the Internet to broach a conspiracy theory: Hang on, is Donald Trump working for Russia?
Hear me out here. Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin have basically shared their love for one another for the entire duration of Trump's primary campaign. In December, Putin referred to Trump as a "very bright and talented man" and Trump described Putin as someone he could "get along very well with," according to CNN, noting that other Republicans have harsh words for the pair because "they're jealous as hell because he's not mentioning [them.]"
Media Matters noted that Trump said that he would only defend a NATO member being attacked by Russia if those nations "have fulfilled their obligations to us." And who really knows what "fulfilling obligations" means to Mr. Trump?
OK, while the conspiracy that Trump is an extension of the Russian government or a Russian spy is... unlikely, it doesn't mean Trump is not working for Russia. However, he is not literally working for Russia; Trump is working in the sense that he is exactly what Putin is looking for in an American president. The head of the Russian Council on Foreign and Defense Policy, Fyodor Lukyanov, attributed Putin's admiration for the former reality TV star to the fact that Putin "likes people who are frank, open and who disregard political correctness," as CNN described it.
On the other hand, Trump's admiration for the Russian leader has often come from his critiques of President Obama, but also from his ego. Trump said at a campaign rally in Wisconsin earlier this year, "I like [Putin] because he called me a genius. He said 'Trump is the new real leader. Trump should be the leader, he's a total genius,'" according to CNN. However, the pair has also shared in their common dislike of Obama.
Trump said of Putin, "at least he’s a leader, unlike what we have in this country."
Even though Trump is not a literal Putin implant in U.S. politics, it doesn't make the threat of his presidency any less real.