Russia was a popular topic during Tuesday night’s vice presidential debate, and it prompted both Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and his running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, to push the bounds of reality.
Via Twitter during the debate, Trump attempted to link his opponent, Hillary Clinton, to Russian President Vladimir Putin ― allegations that seemed to ignore Trump’s own repeated praise of Putin, his campaign’s work in /www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/578e44bae4b0a0ae97c37acd"}}">gutting an anti-Russian provision in the GOP platform and the Trump campaign’s multiple political and financial ties to Russia.
Trump falsely alleged that Clinton, in her time as secretary of state and via the Clinton Foundation, engaged in quid pro quo agreements with Russia over uranium and other assets in exchange for “political and financial favors.”
During the debate, Clinton’s running mate, Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), slammed Pence for his and Trump’s praise of Putin as a “great leader.”
In the moment, Pence flatly denied it and called Putin a “small and bullying leader” despite the fact that Trump has praised Putin as a “leader” with whom he would get along. And just one month ago, Pence told CNN, “I think it’s inarguable that Vladimir Putin has been a stronger leader in his country than Barack Obama has been in this country.”
In response, Kaine said: “If you mistake leadership for dictatorship and you can’t tell the difference ― a country that’s running its economy into the ground, persecuting journalists ― if you can’t tell the difference, you shouldn’t be commander in chief.”
Editor’s note: Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims — 1.6 billion members of an entire religion — from entering the U.S.