Donald Trump-Vladimir Putin
US President-elect Donald Trump (L) and Russian President Vladimir Putin (R)Reuters

On stage with perhaps the most powerful man in the world, US President Donald Trump refused that Russia had played a role in the 2016 US Presidential election. However, just over 24 hours later, he changed his statement and accepted that Russia might have meddled with US polls.

The US President has upended the world in just over a month, but nothing presents a more strong image of his strange love for twisting and turning the truth than the Russian hacking issue. It has taken just 24 hours for Trump to change his words, but why exactly did he do it?

Fear has been something Donald Trump has not shown. Whether it is in his dealings with North Korea or the trade war with China, Trump has never been the one to show that he is afraid, but maybe that is not the case when it comes to Putin. 

Former US president Barack Obama put it best when during his recent speech in South Africa, he targeted politicians pushing "politics of fear, resentment, retrenchment." While Trump has somewhat accepted his intelligence community's findings on Russian hacking, the question of it coming a day too late will continue to haunt him.

There could be many reasons for the sudden shift, but many experts believe it stems from fear. With the mid-terms due in November, and Trump planning on standing for re-election in 2020, there has never been a more critical time for him to work with the public. 

If Trump is to retain control of his presidency, he will have to go with the public sentiment, which at this point is vastly against Putin and Russia. Appeasing his home, while engaging in diplomacy abroad will be a key balance to ensure that he is not impeached before the end of his term.

With backlash from not just the American public, but his own government and international media, maybe fear has seeped into the man who has so far shown an iron resolve to do things his own way, rulebook be damned.

As for why Trump didn't tackle Putin directly at the summit, one can only speculate. Maybe Trump knows that Putin can force him out of the White House, after all, he might be the man who put Trump there.