On the campaign trail, first lady Michelle Obama tried (to hilarious effect) to portray presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and the Democrats as a party of morals and dignity. “Our motto is: when they go low, we go high,” she said back in July, according to MSNBC.
It didn’t work, of course. When everyone heard the “basket of deplorables” remark and saw the DNC emails from WikiLeaks, they knew how much of a fraud it was. And they made sure Clinton knew it at the polls.
However, Obama’s line was good for someone: Vladimir Putin. While the matter of his stealing the DNC’s emails to embarrass Hillary Clinton and the Democrats is still a matter of considerable debate, on Thursday, he decided to steal Michelle’s ideas to verbally embarrass Obama.
According to Fox News, Putin said that he would not expel American diplomats in response to the Obama administration’s expulsion of Russian diplomats, with Fox News suggesting he would take the “high road.”
“Although we have the right to retaliate, we will not resort to irresponsible ‘kitchen’ diplomacy but will plan our further steps to restore Russian-U.S. relations based on the policies of the Trump administration,” Putin said Friday.
“We will not expel anyone,” he added. “We will not prevent their families and children from using their traditional leisure sites during the New Year’s holidays. Moreover, I invite all children of U.S. diplomats accredited in Russia to the New Year and Christmas children’s parties in the Kremlin.”
Yes, he just basically said “when they go low, we go high.” In Putinist Russia, tossed-off line by American political functionary humiliate you.
The Russian embassy also tweeted that a special flight would be dispatched to pick up the 35 diplomats ejected Thursday from the United States.
For 🇷🇺diplomats and their families to leave the US, an aircraft of the Rossiya Special Flight Squadron will be sent to the US pic.twitter.com/XJVixx1Am0
— Russia in USA 🇷🇺 (@RusEmbUSA) December 30, 2016
Interesting to note was that while Rossiya — a fully owned subsidiary of Aeroflot — operates modern aircraft like the Boeing 777 and Airbus A320, the tweeted picture is of the Soviet-era Russian airplane Ilyushin Il-96, an airliner the company no longer uses.
Showing Obama that Russia can be self-sufficient without them? Reading too much into it? It’s your call, but it is interesting that they would not only pick a picture to go along with a tweet, but that picture.
Politico reported that the comments were made hours after Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov hinted that retaliation for the expulsions would be imminent. What changed his mind? Maybe he realized that the Trump administration would still be in office and that this would be counterproductive. Maybe he watched one of Michelle Obama’s speeches and was inspired.
Or, maybe Putin just got a look at her dancing to “Uptown Funk” on “Ellen” and wanted to see if he could embarrass the first lady any more than she’s already embarrassed herself.
Whichever way, it’s an irony that’s delicious in the same way that Michelle’s school lunches aren’t.
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H/T The Hill