Donald Trump, who is known to have a tumultuous on-air bromance with Russian president Vladimir Putin, gave an interview in which he criticized US foreign policy on RT, an international network sponsored by the Kremlin. The Republican presidential nominee appeared on Larry King’s Politicking talk show, which has aired online and on RT since 2013.
In the interview Trump blamed Obama for the rise of ISIS:
Hillary Clinton with her policies and Barack Obama — you know, look, we should have never gone into Iraq. Period. We should have never gone in. But once we went in, Larry, we shouldn’t have gotten out the way we got out. And the way they got out really caused ISIS, if you think about it. We got out in such a horrible, foolish fashion, instead of leaving some troops behind.
The statement in itself isn’t particularly remarkable, Trump has called Obama “the founder of ISIS” before. But he did say it on a network that is a known weapon in Russia’s information war, and relays a message of profound distrust toward the West, especially western media. Trump’s statements to Larry King about the “dishonesty of the media” fit right into RT’s playbook.
When asked what surprised him most about running for office, Trump said:
Well, I think the dishonesty of the media. The media has been unbelievably dishonest. I mean they’ll take a statement that you make which is perfect and they’ll cut it up and chop it up and shorten it or lengthen it or do something with it. And all of a sudden it doesn’t look as good as it did when you actually said it. But there’s tremendous dishonesty with the media. Not all of it, obviously, but tremendous dishonesty.
Kellyanne Conway, Trump’s campaign manager, told CBS that Trump did the interview as a “favor for Larry King.”
During NBC’s presidential forum earlier this week, Trump was asked about his exchanges of compliments with Vladimir Putin. “I think when he calls me ‘brilliant,’ I’ll take the compliment,” he said, referring to a statement by Putin in December, which experts say were lost in translation (Putin likely meant “colorful” and not “brilliant). “If he says great things about me, I’m going to say great things about him,” Trump said.