“He’s a brave man, he’s resilient,” Trump said of Zelensky in remarks at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference, even as he declined to call Putin “smart”.
“The problem is not that Putin is smart, but of course he’s smart,” Trump said. “The problem is that our leaders have been stupid … and so far, have allowed him to get away with this crime and behavior that attacks humanity.”
“Putin is playing! [President Joe] Biden is like a drum and it’s not a pretty thing to watch,” he continued.
SEE: Things to know about Russian President Putin
The former president has repeatedly praised Putin in the days since Russian troops entered Ukraine and began launching missile attacks on the country’s capital, Kyiv. His comments about Zelensky come days after he praised Putin, calling the Kremlin leader “genius” and “wise” in a radio interview. Those remarks are the latest of many in which the 45th President has endorsed or admired authoritarian rulers. In addition to Putin, Trump has also previously made positive comments about North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un and Chinese President Xi Jinping.
But other Republicans have shied away from admiring the Kremlin leader. In re-appearances at CPAC, rumors of GOP presidential hopes echoed Trump’s criticisms of the Biden administration but no longer praised Putin as the former President did.
Although Trump has lavished praise on the Kremlin leader with harsh criticisms of Putin’s decision to “cruelly attack” Ukraine, he has reserved his strongest criticisms for Biden and the parties. Elected Democrat.
“Russia’s attack on Ukraine is appalling. It’s an outrage and a brutal act that should never have happened,” Trump told the conservative group in Orlando. “I have no doubt that President Putin made his decision … only after witnessing the disastrous withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan.” Thirteen US military members were killed in a bombing at Kabul airport during the Biden administration’s withdrawal from Afghanistan this summer, which has since come under Taliban control.
The former president, who was impeached for the first time in his presidency after using security assistance to Ukraine as bait to pressure Ukrainian officials to investigate his political rival – also tried to credit Ukraine’s arming in his statement on Saturday.
“I gave Ukraine the spears everyone was talking about and millions of dollars in other military equipment. The Obama administration gave them blankets,” Trump said.
Trump says Russia would never invade Ukraine if he were president and claims – falsely – that the 2020 election was stolen.
“Under Biden, Russia invaded Ukraine. I’m the only President of the 21st century as President where Russia didn’t invade another country,” Trump said, describing the global perception of the United States. during his presidency was “strong, cunning, and intelligent. .”
“Under our administration, Russia respects America,” he told the crowd.
Although Biden regularly imposed new sanctions on Russia during his time in office, Trump claimed the Biden administration left Putin “without any consequences” by responding to the full-blown invasion of Russia. he entered Ukraine with export blocs and new sanctions on Russian banks and oligarchs. . Biden announced a new round of sanctions on Thursday after Putin sent Russian troops into Ukraine.
“Putin is saying, ‘punish me?” Well, they’ve punished me for the last 25 years,” Trump said, calling Biden’s response earlier this week a “pretty weak statement.”
Other Republicans who took to the stage at CPAC this week have also encouraged the Biden administration to take stronger actions against Putin, though they have declined to use the same positive rhetoric about home. Russian leader that Trump often deploys.
“A strong American president will work with European partners to replace their Russian oil supplies with American energy, and they will attack Putin when it really hurts – to the sector.” If Joe Biden can’t or won’t do these things, then he should step down,” South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem announced in a statement Friday.
Trump also used his appearance on Saturday to briefly remake his first impeachment of 2019, which came after Trump used security assistance to Ukraine as bait to pressure with the country’s officials – including Zelensky – to investigate his political opponents.
“This is really a scam,” Trump said of the impeachment proceedings.
And he strongly hinted that he intends to run for re-election to the White House in 2024, telling the Orlando crowd that voters will show the nation that the “sleeping giant” has woken up “comes. starting November 8 and then even more November 2024. .
“We’ve done it twice and we’ll do it again,” Trump said.
Trump has yet to officially announce his intention to run for president in the future, but he continues to take steps that indicate he is preparing for a rematch with Biden. Trump made a similar remark at last year’s CPAC shortly after his defeat to a Democratic opponent.
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https://abc13.com/trump-ukraine-putin-cpac-speech-russia/11605364/ Trump to Putin: Former president defends praise of Russian leader in CPAC speech in 2022