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Trump: Putin is a better leader than Obama

Watch now: Trump says he will have very good relationship with Russia [Image:Getty-Video:AFP]

Date of publication: 8 September, 2016

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Video: Under Obama, Trump claims, the US Army had been "reduced to rubble."
On Wednesday Donald Trump claimed that Russian head of state Vladimir Putin had been a better leader than rival and current US President Barack Obama. Trump’s comments were made during an NBC television forum in New York, where he appeared along with Hillary Clinton.

In particular, Trump claimed that the US Army had been stymied by the Obama administration’s policies.

"I think under the leadership of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton the generals have been reduced to rubble. They have been reduced to a point that’s embarrassing for our country," Trump said at NBC's "Commander-in-Chief" forum in New York attended by military veterans adding that he was best equipped to reassert America's global leadership.

The occasion marked the first time Trump and Clinton had squared off on the same stage since accepting their parties' presidential nominations in July for the Nov. 8 election.

During the forum, Clinton faced questions over her handling of her time at the State Department during which she accessed and used classified information while using a private email server, a course of action described by FBI Director James Comey as "extremely careless."
"There was one thing that shocked me. What I did learn is that our leadership, Barack Obama, did not follow what our experts ... said to do ...Our leaders were not following what they recommended."
-Donald Trump, Republican nominee
Trump’s continued praise of Putin coupled with his suggestion that the United States and Russia should form an alliance to defeat Islamic State militants has made many foreign policy experts, who feel Moscow has gone too far in its intervention in Syria in support of the government of Bashar al-Assad, wary.

"If he says great things about me, I’m going to say great things about him," Trump said of Putin. "He’s been a leader, far more than our president has been."

After receiving criticism for describing Obama as "the founder of ISIS," an acronym for Islamic State, whilst campaigning several weeks ago, Trump has toned down his hyperbolic rhetoric, and adopted a more disciplined approach to the election race. In the process he has picked up ground on Clinton in national opinion polls.

Trump also claimed he has been shocked by revelations learnt in classified intelligence briefings given to him by US officials due to his status as Republican nominee.

"There was one thing that shocked me," Trump said. "What I did learn is that our leadership, Barack Obama, did not follow what our experts ... said to do, and I was very, very surprised. ...Our leaders were not following what they recommended."

Earlier in the day, Trump had pledged that if elected he would inaugurate a new US military expansion claiming that America was increasingly under threat from enemies including North Korea and Islamist militants.

The Republican nominee further lambasted Clinton for her support of US intervention in Libya in 2011 when she was serving as secretary of state saying "she made a terrible mistake in Libya."

For her part Clinton said that whilst she regretted America’s much maligned intervention in Iraq in 2003, she did not have regrets over Libya.

"Permitting there to be an ongoing civil war in Libya would be as threatening and as dangerous as what we are seeing in Syria," she said. "We made the world safer."

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