BuzzFeed News has previously reported that Trump has both praised and defended Putin in the past for bashing the term "American exceptionalism." In a previously unreported interview from 2014 with Jeffrey Lord of the American Spectator (and now of CNN fame), Trump called the use of the term "dangerous" and approvingly cited Putin's criticism of it.
"Well, I think it’s a very dangerous term in one way," Trump said in the interview. "Because I heard Putin saying, 'Who do they think they are, saying they’re exceptional?' You can feel you’re exceptional, but when you start throwing it in other countries’ faces or other people’s faces, I actually think it’s a very dangerous term to use."
Trump told Lord that Putin treated him "unbelievably well" during the Miss Universe pageant held in Moscow and explained that it was during the contest that Putin expressed his criticism of "American exceptionalism."
"And it was at that time that Putin said, 'Who do they think they are saying they’re exceptional?' And I understand that. You know, he said, “Why are they exceptional? They have killings in the streets. Look at what’s going on in Chicago and different places. They have all of this turmoil, all of the things that are happening in there.”
Trump added, "And I can tell you that there are many countries throughout the world that are extremely angry with that term American exceptionalism. Countries that are doing better than we are—far better than we are. You’re looking to get along with the world, and you say you’re exceptional? So I never particularly like the term. I think you can think it, but I’m not sure it’s something that you should necessarily be talking so much about."
Trump said that when President Ronald Reagan used the term, the United States was a "more exceptional country."