- Russian President Vladimir Putin said he hoped to have a productive relationship with Donald Trump
- The Russian leader also cast Democrats in the U.S. as desperate
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday claimed that his country correctly predicted Donald Trump’s electoral victory and characterized Democrats as sore losers eager to blame anyone else for their losses.
Speaking at his annual news conference, Putin said he hoped to have a productive relationship with Trump. “Nobody believed he would win except for us,” he said. Trump has regularly been criticized being too cozy with the Russian leader, while the Obama administration has accused the Russian government of meddling in the U.S. election by hacking Democratic targets. The CIA has gone further, assessing that the Kremlin was explicitly trying to tip the election in Trump’s favor.
On Friday, Putin cast Democrats in the U.S. as desperate. “They are losing on all fronts and looking elsewhere for things to blame. In my view this, how shall I say it, degrades their own dignity,” Putin said. “You have to know how to lose with dignity.”
The comments from Putin stand to fuel fears that not only did the Russian leader have a hand in Trump’s rise but that he will try to force autocratic ideals upon the United States.
Trump has also stoked concerns with his selection of ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson as his secretary of state. Tillerson has long had ties with Russia — and to Putin — through the various business deals he’s brokered with the country.
On Friday, Putin also defended comments from Trump suggested the U.S. needs to greatly expand its nuclear arsenal.
“Of course the U.S. has more missiles, submarines and aircraft carriers, but what we say is that we are stronger than any aggressor, and this is the case,” Putin said, adding, “As for Donald Trump, there is nothing new about it, during his election campaign he said the U.S. needs to bolster its nuclear capabilities and its armed forces in general.”
Trump on Thursday alarmed nonproliferation advocates when he tweeted that the U.S. should “greatly strengthen” its nuclear supply.
“The United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes,” Trump said.
He added to the controversy by suggesting on Friday that he was fine with an “arms race.”
“Let it be an arms race … we will outmatch them at every pass and outlast them all,” Trump told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” during an off-air conversation on Friday.
Story Credits: The Politico contributed to this report