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Putin’s rally was ‘the best attempt to look like Donald Trump’, says Hannity

Fox News personality Sean Hannity said Vladimir Putin’s stadium-filled rally in Moscow mimicked events hosted by former President Donald Trump, who previously expressed admiration for the Russian leader.

Hannity suggested on his show Friday that Putin was taking a page from Trump’s playbook to rally public support for his invasion of Ukraine. However, in making the comparison, Hannity disparaged Putin, as conservative political and media figures continued to smear the Russian leader.

“At a large, Moscow-made pro-Putin rally, his best attempt to look like Donald Trump, there were embarrassing technical difficulties during Vladimir’s big speech,” Hannity said, referring to reports that participants might have been forced to attend.

Putin held a rally in Moscow on Friday to rally support for his invasion of Ukraine, which has largely stalled after three weeks. Footage from the rally showed the stadium adorned with Russian tricolors. Putin, dressed in a winter coat, stood in front of a sign reading “For a world without Nazism,” a reference to his stated goal of seeking to “denazify” Ukraine, a justification rejected by Western powers.

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a concert marking the eighth anniversary of Russia’s annexation of Crimea at the Luzhniki stadium in Moscow on March 18, 2022. Fox News host Sean Hannity today disparaged the leader Russian by comparing him to former President Donald Trump.

“We know what we have to do, how to do it and at what cost,” Putin said, “and we will fulfill absolutely all our plans.”

Moscow police said 200,000 people attended the rally. However, the Associated Press (AP) reported that thousands of people were forced to attend the rally, claims that have yet to be independently verified.

Large, noisy gatherings in stadiums and other venues were a hallmark of Trump’s presidential campaigns in 2016 and 2020, with the former reality TV star often bragging about the size of his crowds.

Earlier Friday, Hannity said on his radio show that Putin was “channeling his inner Donald Trump,” according to progressive watchdog group Media Matters for America.

“[Putin] was what it looked like, it almost looked like the big house in Michigan – their football stadium, I think, can hold 110,000 people,” Hannity said. “Putin organized a massive rally in Moscow. By the way, if you don’t show up, you’ve probably been in trouble. My only guess, I’m sure a lot of people showed up just out of fear. That’s authoritarianism, and we should know that by now.”

Hannity has lambasted Putin since Russia invaded Ukraine, saying last month the autocratic leader must be removed from power “by any means necessary”.

Trump has refrained from criticizing Putin, even after other Republicans who previously spoke positively of the Russian leader reversed their position as the American public rallied in support of Ukraine. Since the invasion, Trump has consistently praised Putin’s intelligence and savvy.

Even when Hannity asked Trump in an interview earlier this month if he considered Putin “evil,” the former president didn’t directly answer the question.

Newsweek contacted Trump for comment.


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