Trump praises Putin, leaving Republicans at an impasse

“We are always in favor of peace,” he insisted.

Andrew S. Weiss, Russian expert at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said the Kremlin had sought for a decade to win over allies from the American right, in part by denouncing gay rights, highlighting Russian support for social norms curators and inviting visits. prominent evangelical figures like Franklin Graham.

“It worked wonderfully,” Mr. Weiss said.

Stephen K. Bannon, a former adviser to Mr. Trump who hosts a popular conservative podcast, hinted this week at the success of those efforts. “Putin is not awake – he is anti-awakening,” Bannon said approvingly on Wednesday. He was interviewing Erik Prince, the private security contractor and member of a prominent family of evangelical Christians and Republican donors, who joined Mr. Bannon in praising Russia for its opposition to transgender rights.

On Thursday, Mr. Bannon argued that Congress should impeach Mr. Biden for “inciting this war in Ukraine”.

“There is no appetite in Europe to defend themselves, okay?” Mr. Bannon said. “Now you’ve come in and stirred up a hornet’s nest.”

Hal Brands, a historian at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies and resident fellow at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, compared apparent sympathy for Russia among some on the right to earlier periods when political fringe groups embraced foreign rivals as foils. for domestic opponents.

In the years before the United States entered World War II, for example, a handful of lawmakers praised Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini for their strong leadership. During the early years of the Cold War, he noted, some on the far left spoke approvingly of the Soviet Union as an alternative to unfettered capitalism.

“Russia is a surrogate for the anti-reawakening,” he said.

But the “current fascination with Putin” among some on the right, he added, “is also tied to the post-Trump draw.”

“You see a lot of emulation among politicians who may or may not be genuinely Trumpian but who nevertheless want to claim that part of the party base for their own political ambitions.”

Nicholas Confessore contributed reporting.

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