A former CIA director suggested Friday that President Donald Trump wishes he could behave more like an authoritarian in the style of Russian President Vladimir Putin, saying the US President has “autocratic envy” of his Russian counterpart.
“I think there is a bit of autocratic envy in terms of the President’s attitude toward the President of the Russian Federation,” retired Air Force Gen. Michael Hayden, who is now a national security analyst for CNN, told “New Day” co-anchor Chris Cuomo.
Hayden, who also served as the head of the National Security Agency under Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, maintained that Trump “admires the way Putin does business.”
“In his heart of hearts, (Trump) may look at what happened yesterday in the Russia Federation and have a certain sense – why can’t I give a speech like that? Why can’t I do those kinds of things?” Hayden said.
“The way (Putin) is able to govern, the things Putin is able to say, the way things seem responsive to Putin without the institutions of government pushing back on him,” Hayden said. “Yeah, I think he’d like that.”
Putin’s reign has been marked by crackdowns on Russia’s free press and reprisals against political enemies. In an annual address to the Russian Parliament on Thursday, Putin said Russia had developed a new, nuclear-capable cruise missile with “unlimited” range that is capable of eluding air-defense systems.