I’m sure of it. It’s not that Donald Trump is afraid of Vladimir Putin. That the latter has the goods on the former. It’s not that Donald Trump owes Vladimir Putin. For, for example, putting his thumb on the scale during the 2016 presidential election. And it’s not that Donald Trump colludes with Vladimir Putin on something suspect – say, multi-million dollar property deals.
It’s that Donald Trump is in love with Vladimir Putin! It’s not clear anyone else has ever been an enduring object of Trump’s affections – not Ivana (wife #1), not Marla (wife #2), not Melania (wife #3). Not any of the other scores of women with whom he in some way scored. Maybe his daughter, Ivanka, but, then, she’s off limits, or she should be.
So… no wonder Donald is stuck on Vladimir. No woman has ever captured the American president’s heart. And there’s hardly ever been anyone quite like the Russian president. Finally, someone worthy of the superlatives of which Trump is endlessly fond. Putin is “terrific.” Putin is “fantastic.” Putin is “the greatest.”
Well, depending on your taste in leaders, Putin really is remarkable. Over his most faithful followers he exercises nearly complete control. Over nearby landmasses he feels free to seize them, or to try to, at will. Over his political opponents he wields the equivalent of a political, or literal, pick-ax. And over the Russian people he casts a spell so great that in March of next year he is certain to win a fourth term in office. A full, six-year term that would make his 24-year tenure (including four as prime minister) the longest by any Russian leader since Stalin. Can you blame The Donald for losing his heart?!
Trump is so smitten by Putin he won’t tolerate anyone saying a bad word about him. Trump is so smitten by Putin he himself won’t cast even the slightest aspersion. Trump is so smitten by Putin he goes the extra step – he picks up the phone just to hear the man’s voice, the mellifluous tones of his precious pet, Vladi. Be still my beating heart.
There’s just one small flaw in their relationship. It’s not clear that it’s reciprocal. It’s not clear that Vladimir loves Donald nearly as much as Donald loves Vladimir. In fact, some say the Russian plays the American like a fiddle.