It’s a very Putin Christmas for President-elect Donald Trump.
On Friday, Trump revealed that he received what he called a “very nice letter” extending Christmas and New Year’s greetings from Russian President Vladimir Putin. The translated letter states that U.S.-Russian relations remain “an important factor in ensuring stability and security of the modern world.” Putin calls on Trump to restore cooperation and heighten collaboration between the two countries.
In a statement, Trump seemed to agree, implying that there could be severe consequences if that partnership doesn’t work. “I hope both sides are able to live up to these thoughts,” he said, “and we do not have to travel an alternate path.”
Trump released the letter just a day after partnering with Putin to reignite a nuclear arms race between the two countries. Following news that Putin wanted to strengthen Russia’s nuclear forces, which are already larger than the U.S.’s, Trump tweeted that the United States should follow suit. He reportedly then told MSNBC, “Let it be an arms race.”
On Friday night, Trump heaped further praise on Putin for his comments calling the Democratic party sore losers who are “looking elsewhere for things to blame.”
Vladimir Putin said today about Hillary and Dems: "In my opinion, it is humiliating. One must be able to lose with dignity." So true!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 24, 2016
Throughout the election, Trump lauded Russia’s propaganda network, even encouraging them to hack Hillary Clinton’s emails. Since intelligence agencies have released reports explaining that’s exactly what happened, Trump has claimed U.S. officials are just politicizing the evidence of Russian hacking, maintaining his good graces with Putin.
Despite Trump’s recent self-contradicting claims that he has “no relationship with Russia,” reporter Sarah Kendzior unearthed a decades-old article Saturday showing Trump had some very interesting interactions with the USSR in 1987, during the last phase of the Cold War. The Soviet tourism agency invited him and Ivana to visit and discuss some business opportunities in January of that year, and he took the trip in July. Two months later, Trump spent nearly $100,000 on a full-page ad in multiple newspapers criticizing U.S. foreign policy. A month after that, Trump gave his first campaign speech, further criticizing U.S. foreign policy and flirting with a presidential run. And at some point that same year, he also told journalist Ron Rosenbaum that the U.S. and Soviet Union should join up and use their power to dominate pre-nuclear countries.
Nearly twenty years later, Trump’s plan for Russia and the U.S. to either work together or destroy each other doesn’t seem to have changed at all.