Joe Scarborough on Wednesday speculated that Russian President Vladimir Putin may be the most powerful person in the past 100 years.
Discussing Putin’s place at the top of Forbes’ Most Powerful People list, the “Morning Joe” host pointed out that the Russian autocrat had consolidated power within his country, eliminating internal checks and asserting his will abroad.
“I want to ask whether he may not be the most powerful person maybe in a century,” Scarborough said.
He added: “Because you think about Soviet leaders – there were always divisions there. Vladimir Putin stands alone as the dictator. Has there been anyone as powerful as this guy?”
“Is he most powerful person since Stalin? Can you name anyone who has had more power at his personal disposal without any checks and balances?”
When Bloomberg’s Mark Halperin argued that US President Ronald Reagan was perhaps more powerful than Putin, Scarborough cut in.
“Reagan had checks and balances. He had to deal with Tip O’Neill,” Scarborough said, referring to the former Democratic House speaker. “Vladimir Putin has to deal with no one.”
Scarborough has frequently raised concern about Putin’s power and the GOP’s shifting attitudes about the Russian leader, sarcastically asking his television panel last week whether Republicans lawmakers were Republicans in name only “if you don’t have pictures of Putin on the wall shirtless, and go up and pray to him every night.”
Last year, the MSNBC host pushed back on President-elect Donald Trump when the then-Republican presidential nominee praised Putin, calling him a “strong leader.”
“Well, I mean, it’s also a person who kills journalists, political opponents, and invades countries. Obviously that would be a concern, would it not?” Scarborough asked Trump.
“He’s running his country, and at least he’s a leader,” Trump replied. “Unlike what we have in this country.”