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Trump suggests Putin called Obama the n-word. Seconds later: “I hope [Putin] likes me.”

Within 20 seconds at a press conference on Wednesday, actual Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump went from suggesting that Russian President Vladimir Putin had once called President Barack Obama the n-word to saying he hopes Putin likes him.

This is not an exaggeration. It really happened:

For the record, there is literally zero evidence that Putin ever called Obama the n-word. It’s hard to say where Trump got this idea, but he has a long history of naively restating things he heard from one person — even random people on Twitter. As Ezra Klein argued for Vox, Trump’s gullibility is one of the reasons he’s not qualified to be president.

But this also seems like a bizarre attempt by Trump to try to make himself look better than Obama. He’s essentially arguing that Putin disrespects Obama so much — to the point that he called the president the n-word — while Putin should and probably does like and respect Trump.

If this were anyone else, it’d be easy to dismiss this as the totally absurd remark it is. But this is a person running for president.

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