Putin Seems To Confirm What We Suspected About His Feelings Towards Donald Trump

In the wake of the decision to invade Ukraine, Russia and its citizens have been clobbered by international sanctions aimed at crippling the nation's economy. According to the BBC, some of the sanctions include the European Union's decision to start phasing out crude oil from Russia, barring Russia from using international banking systems, and even blocking state-owned media outlets from getting access to audiences in Europe.

Not to be outdone, Russia announced its own set of sanctions in the form of permanently banning over 900 United States citizens from entering the Russian Federation. Headlining the list is current President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, former First Lady and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, and even actor Morgan Freeman, as CNCB reports.

However, a name that was missing from the laundry list of notable politicians, businesspeople, and other high-profile citizens was former President of the United States, Donald J. Trump. This was the latest in a series of events that have led to speculation that Putin and Trump have a relatively warm relationship toward each other, an accusation that plagued Trump's entire presidency.

The list of banned U.S. citizens was bipartisan

One of the surprising things about Donald Trump not appearing on the list of banned U.S. citizens is that the list featured politicians from across the political spectrum. Members of Congress representing both major United States political parties are on the list as are members of President Biden's administration. Other notable names included philanthropist and Democratic Party donor George Soros and former Governor of Ohio and presidential candidate John Kasich, who faced off against Trump in the 2016 presidential election and was critical of the president in the years that followed, per NPR.

With so many powerful names receiving bans, it was a fair question to wonder why Trump — a former president — wouldn't be included on the list, especially when political affiliation didn't seem to be much of a factor. According to Yahoo News, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation said the sanctions were "aimed at forcing the ruling American regime, which is trying to impose a neo-colonial 'rules-based world order' on the rest of the world, to change its behavior, recognizing new geopolitical realities." It's worth noting that no former U.S. president appeared on the list.

Trump's lack of a ban raises eyebrows

While former presidents Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama are nowhere to be found on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation's list, it was Trump's omission that raised eyebrows. Even before Trump took office in January 2017, there were rumors of his close ties to Vladimir Putin. It was alleged that Trump had colluded with Russian officials to interfere with the 2016 presidential election. While The Federal Bureau of Investigation acknowledges that Russia did interfere with the election, a nearly two-year-long investigation conducted by special counsel Robert Mueller found that there was no collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, though the door was left open for possible obstruction (via American Bar Association).

Trump was known to speak highly of Putin throughout his presidency, and according to Politico, the administration's connections to Russia came in the forms of multiple meetings with officials close to Putin. Even members of Trump's own family had met with figures close to Russia's president.

Putin's feelings toward Trump

Trump not appearing on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation's sanction list would seem to appear that Putin is friendly toward the 45th President of the United States. While recent rumors have suggested that Putin was at times frustrated by Trump's apparent lack of knowledge on certain issues, Trump has been one of the few international political figures who haven't given a strong condemnation of Russia's actions in Ukraine.

According to Insider, Fiona Hill – a former Trump National Security Council advisor on Russia — said that Trump was someone who Putin had to "explain everything to all the time", especially on geopolitical matters. Hill further says that this was why Putin waited until the Biden administration was in power to invade Ukraine, feeling that Biden — someone known to possess extensive knowledge about NATO and international affairs — would be better to negotiate with.

Still, Putin has had no reason to harbor animosity toward Trump, because even after the invasion of Ukraine, Trump has been hesitant to speak out against Putin. In a 2022 interview with Sean Hannity, Trump continued to refrain from calling the Russian president "evil" even when Hannity teed up the opportunity for him to do so. "I knew Putin very well," Trump said, per Vanity Fair. "I will tell you, we talked about it, we talked about it a lot, he did want Ukraine, but I said, 'You're not going into Ukraine.' He would never, ever have gone into Ukraine [on my watch]."