Just when you thought everyone imaginable had weighed in with their analysis of the 2016 U.S. presidential election, someone thought by many to be a real player in the contest, Russian president Vladimir Putin, offered his pithy thoughts during his customary marathon year-ending presser. Here’s a key snippet via the Washington Post:
“Democrats are losing on every front and looking for people to blame everywhere,” Putin said in answer to a Russian TV host, one of 1,400 journalists accredited to the marathon session. “They need to learn to lose with dignity.”
The Kremlin leader pointed out Republicans had won the House and Senate, remarking “Did we do that, too?”
Now until we get a full, translated transcript, we won’t know for sure whether any of the journalists present schooled Putin on straight-ticket voting, the Senate landscape, House district gerrymandering, and the other factors that could have made a Russian-influenced presidential victory cascade down the ballot. I’m guessing nobody did, because nobody wanted to find themselves in one of Russia’s inhospitable correctional facilities.
Your average head of state, of course, probably wouldn’t comment publicly on another country’s internal politics, particularly if he or she had been accused by that country’s intelligence agencies of trying to put a thumb on the scales by illegally hacking private email accounts and then leaking them strategically. But Putin has no such inhibitions — one of the perks of being an authoritarian leader.
On Friday he borrowed from Trump’s dismissal of the accusations, remarking “maybe it was someone lying on the couch who did it.”
They have couches in Russia don’t they?
In the end, Putin did not bother to hide his glee over Trump’s election.
“Trump understood the mood of the people and kept going until the end, when nobody believed in him,” Putin said, adding with a grin. “Except for you and me.”
Putin recently made waves by musing aloud that he’s getting tired of the responsibilities of high office and would like to retire and maybe travel. Perhaps he dreams of trading in the demanding presidential gig for the much more relaxed occupation of political pundit.