Trump and Putin trade compliments, dismiss Obama

Vladimir Putin
(Image credit: NATALIA KOLESNIKOVA/AFP/Getty Images)

"Great move on delay (by V. Putin) - I always knew he was very smart!" President-elect Donald Trump tweeted Friday afternoon, responding to Russian President Vladimir Putin's announcement that he would not immediately react to retaliatory sanctions on Russia which President Obama debuted as punishment for election interference attempts. The Russian embassy in America promptly retweeted the post. Several hours later, Trump reiterated his praise, tweeting that Russians are playing CNN and NBC — but not Fox — for fools.

On Saturday, Putin responded with compliments of his own, congratulating Trump instead of Obama in his New Year's Eve greeting to fellow heads of state. The message expressed hope for a new era of U.S.-Russian relations after Trump takes office based on the two nations "acting in a constructive and pragmatic manner." This fresh partnership, he added, "will be able to take real steps to restore the mechanisms of bilateral cooperation in various areas and take their interaction in the international arena to a whole new level."

Expert observers are divided over whether this mutual admiration will develop as happily as Putin says once Trump takes the reins. Some argue Putin is playing the president-elect's lack of foreign policy experience to his own advantage, while others believe this is the beginning of a legitimate and positive thaw between Russia and the United States.

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Bonnie Kristian

Bonnie Kristian was a deputy editor and acting editor-in-chief of She is a columnist at Christianity Today and author of Untrustworthy: The Knowledge Crisis Breaking Our Brains, Polluting Our Politics, and Corrupting Christian Community (forthcoming 2022) and A Flexible Faith: Rethinking What It Means to Follow Jesus Today (2018). Her writing has also appeared at Time Magazine, CNN, USA Today, Newsweek, the Los Angeles Times, and The American Conservative, among other outlets.