Trump says Putin better leader than Obama

Trump says Putin better leader than Obama

Trump says Putin better leader than Obama

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks during the Commander in Chief Forum in Manhattan, New York, U.S., September 7, 2016. REUTERS photo

Donald Trump declared on Sept. 7 that Russian President Vladimir Putin had been a better leader than U.S. President Barack Obama, as the Republican presidential nominee used a televised forum to argue he was best equipped to reassert America’s global leadership. 

“If he says great things about me, I’m going to say great things about him,” Trump said of the Russian president at NBC’s “Commander-in-Chief” forum in New York attended by military veterans, where he and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton made back-to-back appearances. 

“It’s a very different system, and I don’t happen to like the system. But certainly in that system he’s been a leader, far more than our president has been a leader.”

Trump had called Obama “the founder of ISIS,” an acronym for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), in stump speeches several weeks ago. The statement drew broad criticism, prompting him to take a more disciplined approach to campaigning. He has since picked up ground on Clinton in national opinion polls.
Trump suggested that U.S. generals had been stymied by the policies of Obama and Clinton, who served as the Democratic president’s first secretary of state. 

“I think under the leadership of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton the generals have been reduced to rubble. They have been reduced to a point that’s embarrassing for our country,” Trump said.

It was the first time Trump and Clinton had squared off on the same stage since accepting their parties’ presidential nominations in July for the Nov. 8 election. 

Clinton was grilled over her handling of classified information while using a private email server during her tenure at the State Department. FBI Director James Comey had declared her “extremely careless” in her handling of sensitive material but did not recommend charges against her. 

“I did exactly what I should have done and I take it very seriously, always have, always will,” she said. 

The event offered a prelude to how Clinton and Trump will deal with questions on national security issues in their three upcoming presidential debates later in September and in October. 

Clinton began the forum saying her long experience in government as a U.S. senator and secretary of state made her uniquely qualified to serve as president. 

She said she had “an absolute rock steadiness” to be able to make tough decisions, a not so subtle dig at Trump, who Democrats say is temperamentally unfit for the White House. 

Moderator Matt Lauer doggedly pressed her about her handling of emails from a private server while secretary of state from 2009 to 2013. The issue has raised questions about whether she can be trusted to serve as president. 

Clinton said none of the emails she sent or received were marked top secret, secret or classified, the usual way such material is identified.