Former President Donald Trump has often boasted of his close relationship with Putin, and the two met several times during the former president’s tenure. Trump has often flatteredly described Russia’s strongholds, ignoring reports of dissident killings, fraud-filled elections, and election interference.
Little has changed since Russia launched its unilateral invasion of Ukraine. While most of the world condemned the attack, Trump praised Putin’s justification for the aggression as “genius” and “knowledge.”
Last month, Trump appeared to take responsibility for the aggression away from Putin and place it in the leadership of the United States – exactly as the Russian president says it belongs. trying to score political points from the president, claiming baselessly that it wouldn’t have happened had he still been president.
“They actually taunted Putin. If you look closely, our country and the so-called leadership taunted Putin,” Trump told the right-wing network Real America’s Voice. “I’ll listen and say, they’re almost forcing him to take what they’re saying. The rhetoric was so silly.”
Putin blamed Western leaders for his invasion of Ukraine and tried to frame NATO’s eastward expansion as a defensive operation meant to save the Russian people and their way of life – and Trump’s comments add to the story. In fact, Putin claims that Ukraine is not a real country and seeks to remove its elected leader while trying to hold the blame on the West.
Trump also pushed for a peace deal between Ukraine and Russia after Putin threatened to use nuclear weapons, and got involved in Putin’s plans in a way some experts described as “dangerous.”
A spokesman for Trump could not be reached for comment.