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21 Feb, 2018 21:16

Trump or Obama? Americans slug it out over who gets ‘Toughest on Russia’ title

Trump or Obama? Americans slug it out over who gets ‘Toughest on Russia’ title

US President Donald Trump almost broke the internet after he boasted that he has been more “tough” on Russia than Obama, causing upheaval among TV pundits and the blue check-marked know-it-alls of the twitterverse.

“I have been much tougher on Russia than Obama, just look at the facts. Total Fake News!” Trump tweeted on Tuesday, immediately sparking a fierce debate about who is most deserving of the coveted title of ‘toughest on Russia’.

After Trump staked his claim to the sought-after distinction, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders followed up with hard, tough facts, pointing out that the current administration has "been tougher on Russia in the first year than Obama was in eight years combined. He's imposed sanctions, he's taken away properties, he's rebuilt our military. He's done a number of things to put pressure on Russia and to be tough on Russia."

But Michael McFaul, former US ambassador to Russia, wasn't buying it. “You know who is tough on Russia? Bob Mueller,” he told MSNBC's Chuck Todd, referring to the FBI special prosecutor who is leading the investigation into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

McFaul went on to question whether Trump had even an inkling of toughness on Russia, accusing the president of “never criticizing Vladimir Putin,” which would obviously be a clear sign of non-toughness.

Meanwhile, Michael Hayden, former director of the CIA and NSA, explained to CNN the intricate nuances of American toughening and softening on Russia, similar to the waxing and waning of the moon.

“As we went on, the arc of the Obama administration was to get tougher. I have not seen that arc continued in the Trump administration but with the one exception [selling arms to Kiev].” (Because nothing says ‘tough’ like ‘fanning the flames of a civil war that could spark a regional conflict at any given moment.’)

Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-TX) nearly accused Trump and Putin of being banya buddies – pouring icy cold water all over Trump’s claim to the ‘Toughest on Russia’ crown (which is bedazzled with MSNBC headlines).

"Tough on Russia? Not a chance. President Trump is so cozy with his pal Putin that he has yet to enact bipartisan sanctions on Russia that Congress [passed] w/ an overwhelming majority. Trump is weak, refusing to provide border security from Russian attacks," he tweeted defiantly.

However, the president of the Center of the American Experiment, John Hinderaker, said that all available tough-measuring metrics point to Trump being the toughest on Russia.

"Who's been tougher on Russia, Obama or Trump? It isn't even close: Trump has been," he wrote.

And even after AP and PolitiFact conducted separate and very thorough fact checks dissecting the pressing issue, some have dared to ask: “who cares?”

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