Thursday, Sept. 12, 2013 | 10:21 a.m.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid hasn’t been joining the chorus of lawmakers expressing outrage over Russian President Vladimir Putin’s op-ed in the New York Times, urging the U.S. to exercise “caution” in Syria.
In fact, according to Reid, “it’s good he’s appearing in an American newspaper – hopefully that will allow him to do some work that hasn’t been done in a long time, and come up with an agreement.”
But even Reid couldn’t stop short of taking a dig at the Russian president whose public stunts frequently invite ridicule from the West.
“I think he’s just looking for an excuse to show off his Super Bowl ring,” Reid suggested as the reason Putin decided to pen the op-ed.
He’s referring to the 2005 incident when Putin, after meeting with Patriots owner Bob Kraft, took the Super Bowl ring Kraft was showing him, slipped it in his pocket, and walked off with it.
Kraft told the story earlier this year, charging that Putin had stolen the ring – but that he was advised by U.S. officials to let the diamond-encrusted gem go, for the sake of international relations.
Putin said this summer that he was having a replacement made for Kraft.
All in all though, the majority leader is pretty sympathetic to the Russians. On Wednesday, he referred to relations with Russia as “okay” despite recent diplomatic trials, especially concerning Syria, and on Thursday, he expressed reserved faith that the Russia’s intentions were on the up-and-up in brokering a way to turn Syria’s chemical weapons over to the international community.
“If there were ever a country that should help, they’re it,” Reid said of Russia, noting how more Russians had been killed with chemical weapons during World War One than citizens of any other country. “It’s not a question of not trusting him.”
But then Reid added: “Reagan said it all: Trust, but verify.”