On Thursday, Machiavellian Russian President Vladimir Putin interceded in the 2016 presidential race, offering his endorsement of Donald Trump’s candidacy.

Speaking after his annual press conference, Putin lauded Trump, gushing, “He’s a really brilliant and talented person, without any doubt. It’s not our job to judge his qualities, that’s a job for American voters, but he’s the absolute leader in the presidential race … He says he wants to move on to a new, more substantial relationship, a deeper relationship with Russia, how can we not welcome that? Of course we welcome that.”

Of course, when Putin pats you on the behind, better check your wallet, so …

Trump has lied about his relationship with Putin; in the November 10 GOP debate, he stated, “As far as the Ukraine is concerned, and you could say Syria, I like, if Putin wants to go in, and I got to know him very well because we were both on 60 Minutes, we were stablemates …”

One problem: Putin and Trump never met. Trump filmed in New York, Putin in Moscow.

Trump may not have problems with Putin at all, if his isolationist statements are any indication of his presidential policies. In the November debate, he said, “I’m all for protecting Ukraine and working — but, we have countries that are surrounding the Ukraine that aren’t doing anything. They say, ‘Keep going, keep going, you dummies, keep going. Protect us ...’ And we have to get smart. We can’t continue to be the policeman of the world.

"I got to know him very well because we were both on 60 Minutes, we were stablemates …”

Donald Trump, making up a story about Vladimir Putin

How Trump’s position vis-à-vis Putin would differ from Barack Obama’s is unclear; during the September GOP debate, he said, “I would talk to him, I would get along with him. I believe — and I may be wrong, in which case I’d probably have to take a different path — but I would get along with a lot of the world leaders that this country is not getting along with.”

Why Putin would openly champion Trump is anyone’s guess, but Trump’s isolationism certainly offers a clue.