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Trump Spox: Putin Praise Was ‘Not an Endorsement’

Screen Shot 2015-12-17 at 8.30.14 PMDonald Trump spokeswoman Katrina Pierson Thursday denied that Russian president Vladimir Putin endorsed the Republican candidate, insisting Putin was merely “recognizing that Trump is a strength to be reckoned with.”

Putin declared Trump the “absolute leader” of the presidential race, adding the candidate is a “really brilliant and talented person.” In response, Trump said it was a “great honor” to be complemented by the Russian president.

“This wasn’t an endorsement,” Pierson told CNN’s Erin Burnett and radio host Ben Ferguson. “This was simply just a powerful man recognizing someone in the United States, running for president, who is also a powerful man. It was not an endorsement.”

Pierson added that Putin “was just recognizing that Trump is a strength to be reckoned with.”

Ferguson noted Trump’s praise of Putin, asking the spokeswoman if Trump really wants “to be buddies” with the Russian president.

“Context is extremely important here,” Pierson replied, arguing that Trump’s praise was “in specific regard to ISIS, period.”

“And let’s not talk about invading countries, Ben,” Pierson continued. “The United States has been invading countries in the Middle East, toppling dictators, and creating a vacuum for ISIS, so let’s not talk about right and wrong here.”

Watch the exchange above, via CNN.

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