A deeply reported story in the Washington Post describes Trump’s 30-year history of business dealings with Russian oligarchs and government officials. These dealings began in the 1980s when there was still a Soviet Union. Trump’s many business deals and activities include bringing the Miss Universe Pageant to Moscow in 2013. Of more serious consequence has been heavy Russian investments in Trump’s properties and businesses, as acknowledged by Trump’s son Donald Jr. Maybe that’s why Russian President Vladimir Putin is a man Trump thinks he can do business with. Meanwhile, the Post says that most American political and national security leaders see Putin as “a pariah who disregards human rights and has violated international norms” and who remains a top geopolitical threat to America’s national security interests. The Post:
Since the 1980s, Trump and his family members have made numerous trips to Moscow in search of business opportunities, and they have relied on Russian investors to buy their properties around the world.
“Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets,” Trump’s son, Donald Jr., told a real estate conference in 2008, according to an account posted on the website of eTurboNews, a trade publication. “We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia.”
The dynamic illustrates the extent to which Trump’s worldview has been formed through the lens of commerce rather than the think tanks, government deliberations and international diplomatic conferences that typically shape the foreign policy positions of presidential candidates.
It also reflects Trump’s willingness to see world leaders through his own personal connections. In a Republican Party in which an ability to stand up to Putin has been seen as a test of toughness, Trump’s relationship with the Russian leader is instead one of mutual flattery.