Russian President Vladimir Putin – whose international aims are under scrutiny as Donald Trump prepares to assume the U.S. presidency – reined in the anti-Western rhetoric in a major speech Thursday.
In his annual state-of-the-nation address delivered from an ornate assembly room in the Kremlin, Putin avoided the harsh references to Washington that are often a hallmark of such high-profile ceremonial speeches. Instead, he focused on Russia’s domestic and economic challenges and painted his government as averse to international friction.
“We don’t want confrontation with anyone – we don’t need it,” official media outlets quoted him as telling an assemblage of Russian political elite. “We are not seeking and have never sought enemies. We need friends.”
Donald Trump arrives Thursday in Indiana to tout the saving of about 1,000 American jobs — and to add yet more positive shine to an image honed daily with his effervescent use of social media.
Trump claimed this week on Twitter that he’d persuaded the Carrier heating and air conditioning firm to retain many of the jobs it planned to send to Mexico — a plan that Trump regularly criticized during his campaign.
Then he announced that he will change his relationship with his namesake development company. The Internet roared with assertions that Trump was going to leave his company entirely — thus lessening obvious conflicts of interest — even though Trump had not gone that far.