The reality-show developer says he's” always felt fine about Putin. He's a strong leader. He's a powerful leader .” “>

Monday morning, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump seemed to endorse speculation that the Russians were behind Wikileaks publication of some 20,000 internal Democratic National Committee emails, and suggest a motive: Vladimir Putins fondness for him 😛 TAGEND

Later, Trump insisted the Tweet was a gag but why wouldnt Putin like him? The Manhattan reality-show star has been singing the praises of the brilliant, Russian strongmen praises for years, often contrasting Russias strong leader to our own weak ones.

In 2013, he told Larry King that the autocratic Russian politician had done a great job outsmarting our country. That same year, Trump Tweeted his hope that Putin would show up at the

Miss Universe pageant in Moscow and become my new best friend.

It runs past gawking at girls, though. In an interview with Joe Scarborough last December, Trump seemed to defend Putins killing of protester journalists, stating, at least hes a leader, unlike what we have in this country. He went on to say that our country does plenty of killing, too, Joe. Trump concludes that it always felt fine about Putin. Hes a strong leader. Hes a powerful leader.

In 2013, Trump told CNBC that Putins Op-Ed for the New York Times was tough and amazingly well-written and that it made Obama definitely sounds like a schoolchild. Putins Op-Ed was a disapproval of American Exceptionalism, the very principle upon which Trump has built his entire campaign.

That year he also described Putin as a real leader on twitter, asserting that the leaders of Russia and China were far smarter than American politicians.

Before Obama, he use Putin to bash Bush, telling the Russian speech magazine Seagull ( Chayka) in 2008, I really like Vladimir Putin. I respect him. He does his task well. Much better than our Bush.

Trump has apparently even endorsed Putins militaristic leadership style, claiming that America is at a drawback because Obama is simply their home communities organizer, while Putin is ex-KGB.

In another tweet, he described Putin as a big hero with all period high popularity.

In a remarkable tweet positioned on March 21, 2014, Trump merrily predicted that Putin will continue to re-build the Russian Empire.

Like Trump joked this morning, the relationship runs both styles; Putin has described Trump as a brilliant and talented person without a doubt and as an absolute leader for the 2016 election.

with additional reporting by Brandy Zadrozny

Read more: