- The Washington Times - Friday, July 27, 2018

President Trump’s supporters would rather have his Russian counterpart in the White House than a Democrat, former President Ronald Reagan’s younger son said Thursday.

“If it were were left just up to Donald Trump’s base, they would elect Vladimir Putin as president of the United States over virtually anybody with a ‘D’ after their name, and I’m not kidding you,” Ron Reagan told MSNBC “Hardball” host Chris Matthews.

Trump’s defenders “really aren’t in touch with reality,” said Mr. Reagan, 60, a MSNBC contributor and liberal commentator. “The most important thing to them [is that Trump] seems to hate the same people that they hate.”

“I think it goes hand-in-hand,” he said of the relationship between the president and his supporters. “If Trump seems to love Putin, they’ll love Putin, too.”

Mr. Reagan’s comment came on the heels of President Putin and Mr. Trump meeting last week in Helsinki, Finland, where the leaders participated in their first bilateral summit in spite of tense relations between the former Cold War foes.

Republican and Democrats alike criticized Mr. Trump after the Helsinki summit for seemingly accepting Mr. Putin’s claim that Russia never interfered in his election, contrary to the conclusions reached by federal intelligence and law enforcement officials. Mr. Trump later said that he misspoke and that he believes Moscow meddled in the race, but has continued to criticize his government’s investigation into the matter as a “witch hunt.”

Mr. Trump has been invited to Moscow, Mr. Putin said Friday. The White House, meanwhile, said the president is “open” to the possibility of traveling to Russian and meeting with Mr. Putin in Moscow for a second summit.

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