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On 2024 messaging, Trump gets an assist from Russia’s Putin

It’s easy to grow inured to the alliance between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, but it matters that they’ve effectively linked arms on 2024 messaging.


Donald Trump’s response to each of his criminal indictments has been inherently conspiratorial: The former president expects the public to believe that his partisan foes secretly worked with prosecutors and grand juries, across multiple jurisdictions, as part of an elaborate plot to undermine his 2024 candidacy.

It is, to be sure, a ridiculous idea for which there is no evidence. But the Republican has pushed the line on a nearly daily basis, and he’s similarly encouraged his allies to trumpet the same line.

One of his most notable benefactors apparently got the message. The Wall Street Journal reported:

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday waded into the debate over the criminal charges faced by Republican election candidate Donald Trump, saying the cases against the former U.S. president amount to political “persecution” and expose U.S. weakness.

During an economic forum, Putin said the indictments show “the whole rottenness of the American political system, which cannot claim to teach others about democracy.” The Russian leader added, “What’s happening with Trump is a persecution of a political rival for political motives.”

In other words, when it comes to 2024 messaging, Trump and Putin have effectively linked arms and started reading from the same script.

Given everything we’ve learned about their partnership over the course of the last several years — it was, after all, Putin’s government that worked to put Trump in the White House in the first place — this might not seem especially surprising. Indeed, the former American president continues to side with the Russian leader about all sorts of things, so it stands to reason that his ally in Moscow would echo his political talking points.

But of particular interest was Trump’s reaction to Putin’s comments. The Republican used his social media platform overnight to publish this message shortly after midnight:

“It’s all happening, even worse than anyone projected. President Vladimir Putin of Russia is using Crooked Joe Biden’s illegal Banana Republic style treatment of his Political Opponent, who is beating him badly in the Polls, to condemn America and all of the good things it once stood for. The whole World is watching as the USA is being torn apart by dreams of Election Interference!”

It’s as if Trump believes his ludicrous conspiracy theories have merit because they’ve now been publicly validated by the Russian dictator.

It would’ve been easy for the former president to simply ignore Putin’s comments. Given the atrocities and alleged war crimes Russia is committing in Ukraine, the Republican might’ve even considered a stay-off-my-side posture.

But instead, Trump thought the smart move would be to highlight Putin’s condemnations of the United States and willingness to endorse his conspiratorial nonsense.

This did not go unnoticed by one of the former president’s GOP rivals.

“If you are on the same side as Putin, you might want to rethink your position,” former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said.