Donald Trump said on Friday that President Barack Obama was being "outplayed" by Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose op-ed piece in The New York Times earlier this week was "just amazing."
"We have a president that's not looking very good," the billionaire businessman told CNN. "It's making us look very bad as a country — and, certainly, he's looking very bad."
Putin's op-ed piece, published on Wednesday, was effective because "he said so much — and he said it in very nice way, but it wasn't very nice at all," Trump said. "It was tough. It was about as tough as you're going to get. And Obama's having a very tough time competing.
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"The letter was very well-crafted," he added. "This was about as well-crafted as you could've imagined. I don’t know if he wrote it, but it certainly was his thoughts. It covered so much territory."
For example, Trump cited Putin's attack on Obama's use of the term "American exceptionalism." The president used the phrase in his speech to the American people on Syria Tuesday evening from the White House.
"You think of the term as being fine, but then, all of a sudden, you say: 'What if you're in Germany?' 'What if you're in Japan?' You're not going to like that term," Trump told CNN. "It's very insulting — and Putin really put it to him on that."
Trump wondered how could Obama describe the United States as "exceptional," having spent $1.5 trillion fighting in Iraq and losing thousands of American and other lives.
"We just went through a disaster in Iraq, and what did we get? Nothing," he said. "In fact, it's going to be taken over by Iran. Iran is already controlling it.
"But the letter was amazing in that it covered so much territory, covered it with respect and with a smile — and it was about as tough as you could do."
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