Donald Trump faced strong criticism for his refusal to express explicit support for Ukraine in its ongoing conflict with Russia, leading Chris Christie to label him as “Putin’s puppet.”
During a CNN town hall hosted by Kaitlan Collins, Trump repeatedly evaded the question regarding his backing for Ukraine. This prompted Christie, a former Republican presidential candidate, to tweet that Trump’s refusal to endorse Ukraine’s victory further reinforced the perception of him being under Putin’s influence.
In response to Collins’ direct request for a clear statement of support, Trump emphasized his focus on seeking a resolution to end the violence and stabilize the situation, rather than expressing a preference for Ukraine to emerge as the winner.
She then asked him again if he wanted Ukraine or Russia to win the conflict.
“I want everyone to stop dying. They are dying, Russians and Ukrainians. I want them to stop dying,” he replied.
Mr. Trump further reiterated his baseless assertion that he could swiftly resolve the conflict within a day if he were back in the Oval Office.
He confidently stated, “I can get it done in 24 hours; the power of the presidency is necessary for that.” Additionally, he emphasized the need for Europe to contribute more funds and urged them to equalize their financial support, citing their abundant resources.
Furthermore, Trump boasted that the conflict would have never occurred had he remained in office.
“If I were president this never would have happened and even the Democrats recognize that. Putin knew it would never have happened and his pipeline would never have happened, a lot of things would never have happened,” he said.
Trump asserted that if he had remained in power, the tragic loss of lives on both the Russian and Ukrainian sides would have been avoided, along with the destruction of numerous cities.
In addition, he attempted to portray his relationship with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky as “very good.” However, it is worth noting that Trump faced impeachment for a phone call in which he sought to leverage military aid to Ukraine in exchange for an investigation into Joe Biden.
“I have a perfect relationship with President Zelensky because as you know he backed me up with phony impeachment hoax number one when he said the president did nothing wrong. I was totally exonerated, by the way, a total waste of time and money,” said Mr Trump. Collins reminded viewers that the former president had been impeached by Congress.
When questioned by Collins about his previous claim of having “tremendous respect” for Vladimir Putin during his presidency, Mr. Trump responded by acknowledging Putin’s intelligence but asserting that he had made a significant mistake.
Trump stated, “He made a tremendous mistake. He is an intelligent guy… they want you to say he is a stupid person, okay, he is not a foolish person, he is very smart and cunning, and Putin made a bad mistake in my opinion. His mistake was going in. He would never have gone in if I was president, we used to talk about it too.”
However, when pressed on whether he believed Putin should be labeled a war criminal for the unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, Trump declined to provide a direct answer.