Donald Trump praised Vladimir Putin in 2013 for his New York Times op-ed in which he criticized President Obama's use of the phrase "American exceptionalism."
Speaking on Piers Morgan Tonight in September 2013, Trump said Putin “really put it” to President Obama over the phrase.
“You think of the term as being fine, but all of sudden you say, what if you’re in Germany or Japan or any one of 100 different countries? You’re not going to like that term,” said Trump. “It’s very insulting and Putin really put it to him about that.”
Trump has found himself under attack from both Democrats and Republicans for praising Putin, especially after Russia's suspected involvement in the hacking of the Democratic National Committee's servers. Last week, Trump asked Russia to release Hillary Clinton’s emails, a comment he later claimed was sarcastic. On Sunday, Trump said Russia was not already in Ukraine despite the 2014 seizure of Crimea and parts of eastern Ukraine. He also attempted to explain past comments about having a relationship with Putin.
Trump defended Putin's criticism of the term "American exceptionalism" on Fox News.
“When he criticizes the president for using the term ‘American exceptionalism,’ if you're in Russia, you don't want to hear that America is exceptional,” Trump said on On the Record. “And if you're in many other countries, whether it's Germany or other places, you don't want to hear about American exceptionalism because you think you're exceptional. So I can see that being very insulting to the world.”
“And that's basically what Putin was saying is that, you know, you use a term like ‘American exceptionalism,’ and frankly, the way our country is being treated right now by Russia and Syria and lots of other places and with all the mistakes we've made over the years, like Iraq and so many others, it's sort of a hard term to use,” Trump added.
“Other nations and other countries don't want hear about American exceptionalism. They're insulted by it. And that's what Putin was saying.”
In June, Mother Jones posted video of Trump saying he didn't like the term American exceptionalism.