Republican nominee Donald Trump has already proven that he's willing to give up anything to get to the presidency — including his relationship with his erstwhile man-crush Vladimir Putin. Donald Trump just ghosted Putin on live television by saying the Russian president isn't his best friend, meaning this bromance might now be over.
Trump is a known fan of Putin's. As recently as Oct. 18, one day before the final presidential debate, Trump said meeting with Putin as president of the U.S. "would be wonderful," and has on multiple occasions made clear how much he admires the Russian president. Yet he stood before the country on live television and made it very clear that Putin is not his best friend, breaking the hearts of Trump-Putin shippers across the country and perhaps that of the Kremlin leader himself.
Jokes aside, Trump's decision to distance himself from his past accolades for Putin seem to be part of a larger pattern of denying his own statements, an alarming trend that makes the prospect of a Trump presidency even more frightening. If Trump is willing to ghost on this most important quasi-relationship, what else is he willing to do?
In 2013, Trump tweeted about his desire for Putin to become his best friend and it wasn't the first time the real estate mogul issued public praise for the man whose counterpart he hopes to become. In 2007, Trump commended Putin's work on "rebuilding the image of Russia," and has since been documented nearly two dozen times cheerleading for the Russian leader, especially in comparison with Obama. Even more interestingly, Trump's overwhelmingly positive statements about Putin have increased in frequency since he announced his campaign, and has complimented him no fewer than 14 times since officially announcing his presidential bid in June 2015.
There have been a few times that there seemed to be bad blood between these star-crossed lovers. In February 2016, Trump told a crowd in South Carolina that he has "no relationship with him" besides the time Putin called him a genius, and on Oct. 4, Trump tweeted a link to a campaign press release examining the relationship between Hillary Clinton and Putin. It appears this new deflection strategy might be more permanent now that we're so close to the election itself, and Trump might have realized that being a fanboy for a widely-reviled foreign leader might not help his chances.