I think I’d get along very well with Vladimir Putin. People say "what do you mean?" I just think I’d get along well with him.
— Donald Trump in a July 31, 2015, press conference
I would talk to [Putin]. I would get along with him. I believe — and I may be wrong, in which case I'd probably have to take a different path, but I would get along with a lot of the world leaders that this country is not getting along with.
— Donald Trump during the September 16, 2015, GOP presidential debate on CNN
I have a couple of instances of well-known people, where I'd help them out, but when I needed a favor, not a big favor in this one case, this guy didn't want to do it. That's 15 years ago. I haven't spoken to him since. He died. He's dead mentally. In other words, for me, they don't exist. I hold a grudge. I have the longest memory. I always kick back. I believe in that.
— Donald Trump in an interview with Rolling Stone magazine, published May 11, 2011
Donald Trump says a lot of peculiar things. But Trump's belief that if he is elected president he and Russian President Vladimir Putin will be fast friends is one of his odder talking points — particularly because he has steadfastly refused to elaborate about why he is so sure they would get along, or how he envisions their relationship unfolding.
We have many, many questions about why Trump is so sure he and Putin would be buddies, and what the consequences of their friendship might be for the world.
- Trump sure does spend a lot of time talking about how well he would get along with Putin, doesn’t he?
- Does Trump have a poster of Putin on his wall?
- Does he stare at the poster, thinking to himself that Putin is just wasting his time with Obama, who will never understand him the way Trump understands him?
- Is Trump already deciding which puppy he will send Putin as a surprise gift, to show him that he really gets him, you know, he gets what makes Putin happy, and he really cares about that?
- Would this be Putin’s reaction when he receives the puppy?
- Would Trump’s first act as president be to organize a summit with Putin to "discuss the Ukraine crisis" but really just so they can hang out?
- Would they get along so well that the Ukraine crisis just disappeared immediately, in one of those "art of the deal" deals that Trump is so famous for?
- But would they pretend that Ukraine was still a problem, just to have the excuse to schedule future "summits" to squeeze in some more Putin-Trump bro time?
- Would Ukraine be kind of pissed when it found out that the reason the crisis had suddenly been "solved" is that Trump told Putin that Ukraine was an ugly country, a very low-energy country, a country that didn’t deserve Putin's attention?
- Trump would probably be pretty mad when Putin turned out to still be a nationalist and undemocratic leader who was hostile toward the United States, huh?
- Would Trump be crushed, personally?
- Would Trump tear his Putin poster right off his bedroom wall?
- Would Trump decide to teach Putin a thing or two, and start moving extra troops to Germany just to remind Putin that he can do what he WANTS and that he is not a weak person who Putin can push around, he is a very successful businessman who has done deals all over the world and also is President of the United States?
- Would Putin leave Trump message after message, saying "Donald, it’s me. This is us we’re talking about. We can get through this, I know we can"?
- Would Trump make a big show of ignoring them, but secretly sneak down to the Oval Office at night to listen to the voicemails over and over?
- Would Trump furtively google paparazzi photos of Putin playing with the puppy he gave him, and wonder if the dog was still named "Donald"?
- Would Trump suddenly come across a photo of Putin playing golf with the president of France, even though golf had always been their thing, and become furious?
- Would Trump do a Google image search for "Putin golf" the next night, and realize that Putin seems to do nothing but get photographed golfing these days, tanned and happy, with other Presidents who weren’t Trump, as if Trump hadn’t been the one to show Putin how shifting his stance slightly could add so much more power to his swing?
- Would Trump spend just a little too long looking at all those photos one night, and feel his sadness harden into anger?
- Would Trump wonder who the hell did Putin think he was?
- Would Trump decide to show Putin that he wasn’t to be trifled with?
- Would that go badly?
- Would the nuclear winter that followed destroy the planet as we know it?
- Would Trump, in his bunker deep beneath the White House, open a dusty box and find, to his surprise, that he hadn’t torn up that Putin poster after all, that it was still there, perfectly rolled, inside that forgotten crate?
- Would he stare at Putin’s now-faded visage, wistfully thinking of what might have been, as somewhere far above him the sun sets, never to truly rise again?