This morning Donald Trump floored MSNBC’s Morning Joe team when host Joe Scarborough asked him about Vladimir Putin’s reputation as a strongman who has journalists killed. Business Insider has the transcript:
“Sure, when people call you ‘brilliant’ it’s always good. Especially when the person heads up Russia,” Trump told cohost Mika Brzezinski when asked about Putin praising him as “very talented” the day before.
Scarborough pointed to Putin’s status as a notorious strongman. “Well, I mean, it’s also a person who kills journalists, political opponents, and invades countries. Obviously that would be a concern, would it not?” Scarborough asked.
“He’s running his country, and at least he’s a leader,” Trump replied. “Unlike what we have in this country.” “But again: He kills journalists that don’t agree with him,” Scarborough said.
The Republican presidential front-runner said there was “a lot of killing going on” around the world and then suggested that Scarborough had asked him a different question.
After pressing further, Scarborough got Trump to concede that he “absolutely” condemns murdering journalists.