This issue is "becoming central in the anti-Trump propaganda much like Hillary Clinton's health will become the key argument to discredit the former first lady," the journalist observed. The Democrats "need to divert attention to other topics, but they have nothing on Trump that could shock the voters."
This is why they have jumped at an opportunity to criticize the Republican nominee for his stance on Putin and Russia.
For her part, Clinton did not leave Trump's latest comments on Putin without a response.
"Bizarrely, once again he praised Russia's strongman Vladimir Putin – even taking the astonishing step of suggesting that he prefers the Russian president to our American president," she said last week. "Now, that is not just unpatriotic and insulting to the people of our country as well as to our commander-in-chief – it is scary."
While Hillary Clinton was recovering from pneumonia, President Barack Obama mentioned the issue in a speech on Tuesday.
"Just last week, [Trump] went on Russian state television to talk down our military and to curry favor with Vladimir Putin. He loves this guy," Obama said, while campaigning for Hillary. The US president also called the Russia leader "Donald Trump's role model."
These remarks, according to Akopov, are meant to portray Trump as "incompetent, unintelligent and unrestrained." The US president, he added, is "in earnest trying to convince Americans that Trump wants to be like Putin. Does Barack Obama really believe that? Surely, not."
Akopov maintained that it all boils down to what Trump has repeatedly said: the billionaire genuinely thinks that Putin is a strong leader, while Obama is not. He has mentioned this in public to attack Hillary Clinton, who, many say, will continue Obama's policies if she is elected in November. In addition, the Republican nominee appears to be intent on improving relations with Russia at a time when the bilateral relationship is at its lowest in decades.
The issue has attracted so much attention that on Friday Trump gave a detailed explanation of his views when it comes to dealing with Russia and its president.
"Well, look, I don't know him, and I know nothing about him, really. I just think if we got along with Russia, that's not a bad thing," he told Jimmy Fallon. "The Democrats try to say I like him somehow. I don't like him. I don't dislike him. I don't have any feelings one way or the other. And it's not going to matter what he says about me. If he says good things or bad things about me, I'm going to make great deals for our country."
Trump also added that "they make it like he's my best friend, I don't know him."