Donald Trump has a clear crush on Russian President Vladimir Putin, and it seems that a lot of his fans feel the exact same way.
The Financial Times has conducted some interviews with Trump supporters who double as Putin fans, and it seems that they’ve bought into the image that America needs a strongman figure.
“Right now there are a lot of people who are very frustrated and very angry that have been cast aside,” said 71-year-old Trump supporter David McCalmont. “They’re looking for someone to come around and be forceful … and have someone at the helm — not like Hitler or Mussolini — but someone who is strong.”
Jeff Grimord, meanwhile, tells the publication that the media has given Putin a bad rap, although he concedes that Putin’s affinity for murdering journalists pushes things a bit too far.
“[The west] is trying to make him out to be a real aggressive S.O.B. but I think he is doing what he perceives to be in the best interest of Russia,” said the 71-year-old Grimord.
Of course, Russia also finds itself diplomatically isolated as a result of its invasion of Crimea, and the subsequent implementation of sanctions and the crashing price of oil have left its economy in tatters.
Nonetheless, it seems Trump fans are willing to accept economic catastrophe in exchange for someone who looks tough riding around shirtless on a horse.