Donald John Trump Sr. and Vladimir Putin once were thought to be made for each other.
One of them is a tough guy; the other seems enamored of tough guys. Putin is the former; Trump would be the latter.
Now, though, their relationship has taken a turn for the worst. Congress enacted a tough new sanctions protocol against Russia — as well as against North Korea — that prohibits the president from scrapping them without congressional approval.
Trump says he’ll sign the sanctions bill.
Putin responded this weekend by ordering the removal of 755 American diplomats from Russia, dramatically reducing the U.S. presence in that country. The Russian president seems to think his response is equivalent to the U.S. expelling of 35 Russian diplomats in retaliation for the Russians’ meddling in our 2016 presidential election.
It’s not at all proportional.
The question remains: Will the U.S. president stand firm or will he roll over?
Trump has been maddeningly reluctant to call the Russians out for their interference in our election. He keeps equivocating by suggesting that “it could be anyone” other than the Russians. He dismisses U.S. intelligence agencies’ assessment that the Russians acted alone.
Will see how this plays out. My hope is that Trump awakens from his infatuation with Putin and concludes that the Russians aren’t our friends — and that the two leaders have wildly differing views on their personal relationship.