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Trump Accused Of 'Bizarre Fascination' With Putin, Other 'Strongmen'

  • RFE/RL

U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton (left) lashed out against her rival in the White House race, Republican Donald Trump. (combo photo)

U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton (left) lashed out against her rival in the White House race, Republican Donald Trump. (combo photo)

A top aide to U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton accused her Republican rival, Donald Trump, of having a "bizarre fascination" with Russian President Vladimir Putin and other "foreign strongmen."

The comment on May 17 came just before primary results were announced in the states of Oregon and Kentucky, with Trump racking up another win in Oregon's Republican primary and Clinton narrowly winning the Democratic primary in Kentucky.

Clinton foreign policy adviser Jake Sullivan made his statement in response to Trump's quip in an interview with Reuters that he would talk to North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un to try to stop Pyongyang from further developing nuclear weapons.

Sullivan contrasted Trump's willingness to sit down with Kim with his recent criticism of British Prime Minister David Cameron.

"Let me get this straight: Donald Trump insults the leader of our closest ally, then turns around and says he'd love to talk to Kim Jong Un?" Sullivan said.

Trump "seems to have a bizarre fascination with foreign strongmen like Putin and Kim. But his approach to foreign policy makes no sense for the rest of us."

On Putin, Trump somewhat tempered his past praise of the Russian leader in the Reuters interview, saying their mutual admiration would only go so far.

"The fact that he said good things about me doesn't mean that it's going to help him in a negotiation. It won't help him at all," Trump said.

Trump's win in Oregon on May 17 gives him 28 more delegates pledged to vote for him at the Republican nominating convention in July. He is less than 100 delegates short of outright clinching the nomination before the convention.

While Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Kentucky, leaving her only about 118 delegates short of securing the Democratic nomination, her rival, Bernie Sanders, won the Democratic primary in Oregon.

The win for Sanders adds to his run of successes in the end stage of the Democratic primary process, but it won't do much to slow Clinton's march toward the nomination.

Clinton remained on pace to wrap up the nomination by early June.

With reporting by Reuters and AP
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