Emily Post did not offer any guidance on how to respond when someone repeatedly compares you to Adolf Hitler, but making weird comments about their gender probably isn’t the best strategy. (Particularly when they’re about to embark on a book tour, and would love to discuss their efforts to break the glass ceiling.) However, that’s exactly what Vladimir Putin did when asked about Hillary Clinton’s remark that his actions in Ukraine sound familiar because “it’s what Hitler did back in the ‘30s.” “It’s better not to argue with women,” the Russian president told France’s Radio Europe 1 this week. “But Ms. Clinton has never been too graceful in her statements.”
According to an English transcript posted on the Kremlin’s website, the Russian president noted that he has always had “cordial conversations” with Clinton at international events. Then he added another dose of sexism. “When people push boundaries too far, it’s not because they are strong but because they are weak,” he said. “But maybe weakness is not the worst quality for a woman.”
Putin didn’t explain what the worst quality for a woman is, though we’d say being seen as Hitler-like is up there for either gender.
Radio 1 Europe followed up with a question that may become more relevant in 2016: Does Putin want to get revenge on Clinton, or did he laugh off the whole “Putler” thing? (The interviewer noted, “We have never seen you laugh.”) “Someday I will indulge myself and we will laugh together at some good joke,” said Putin, adding, “But when I hear such extreme statements, to me it only means that they don’t have any valid arguments.” We’re afraid to know what makes Putin chuckle, but it doesn’t sound like “Remember that time I compared you to one of history’s worst monsters?” is it.
This post has been updated throughout.