Twice over the course of the final presidential debate Donald Trump stated that he didn't know Vladimir Putin. The Russian leader came up numerous times during the Wednesday night event, in part due to the U.S. government's acknowledgement that Russia was behind Wikileaks' DNC dump. The Republican nominee's relationship with Putin was also called into question. His response denying that he even knew who the President of Russia was or that he'd ever met him was roundly mocked, prompting a barrage of Putin-Trump friendship memes on social media.
After the Republican nominee questioned Russia's involvement in the aforementioned hack, moderator Chris Wallace asked whether such interference from any exterior world power—Russia or not—would warrant condemnation. "Of course I condemn [it]," Trump replied before throwing shade at a man he's met on multiple occasions. "I don't know Putin," Trump claimed. "I never met Putin. This is not my best friend."
Politifact begs to differ. The site debunked Trump's insistence that he doesn't know Putin all the way back in August, citing four separate examples: Trump admitting that he had a relationship with Putin in 2013, his claim that Putin sent him a gift following an appearance in Moscow for the Miss Universe pageant in 2014, A National Press Club speech that same year, and even on the primary debate stage in 2015. During the fourth GOP debate in November of last year, Trump admitted that he "got to know [Putin] very well because we were both on 60 Minutes, we were stablemates, and we did very well that night."
So, Um, Is Their Friendship On The Rocks?
That's Gotta Hurt Putin
How Could You?
I Mean, That Is Cold
Putin Was All In
And Now Y'all Got Nothing
While Trump was basically severing his friendship with his Russian BFF onstage at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas, Clinton was kicking up even more drama between them. She claimed that Putin would "rather have a puppet as president than the United States," insinuating that the Donald's formerly cozy relationship with Putin was more sinister than a simple friendship. "You're the puppet," Trump shot back.
It doesn't matter who the puppet is if it means Putin and Trump's friendship is wrecked. Congratulations, Donald. You played yourself on the national stage and lost an international friend in the process. Just the other day you were talking about how "wonderful" it would be to meet with Putin after being sworn in. Good luck getting that meeting now, whether you get elected or not.