With reports of an intimate relationship with Russia hurting his poll numbers, Trump took to the stage this afternoon to clear the air. “I am not a puppet of the Kremlin, nor have I entered a secret alliance with Vladimir Putin,” promised Trump, as strings of borscht dribbled from his chin.

Soon after, one of his aides ran to the podium to hand the GOP Nominee a napkin, but Trump waved her away.

Pointing at the crowd with a finger dyed red from Eastern European beet soup, he continued, “If you think I’m out here for anybody other than America, then you’ve got another thing coming, comrade!” Trump finished by noisily licking the borscht residue from his hands, making several “Mmm” sounds in the process.

After his statement, Trump set aside a few minutes to take questions from the audience and play with a Russian nesting doll.

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