The former president suggested the US’ chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan prompted the Russian offensive in Ukraine.
Former US President Donald Trump has argued that President Joe Biden and NATO had acted “dumb” compared to “smart” Russian President Vladimir Putin and claimed Russia’s conflict in Ukraine would not have happened under his presidency.
Trump made the comments during a speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) on Saturday. Addressing his supporters, Trump noted that he was the only US president of the 21st century to not oversee Russia’s military action abroad.
“We were a smart country. Now we’re a stupid country,” Trump said. He went on to argue that “Russia respected America” when he was at its helm, but now Joe Biden is seen as “weak.”
Trump suggested that Putin “made his decision to ruthlessly attack Ukraine only after watching the pathetic [US] withdrawal from Afghanistan” last year, and claimed that the Russian leader was “playing Biden like a drum.”
“Yesterday reporters asked me if I thought President Putin was smart. I said of course he’s smart, to which I was greeted with, ‘Oh, that’s such a terrible thing to say,’” said Trump, before doubling down on his remark that Putin is indeed “smart.”
“The NATO nations and indeed the world, as he looks over what’s happening strategically with no repercussions or threats whatsoever, they’re not so smart. They’re looking the opposite of smart,” the 45th president continued, suggesting that the West should have threatened Moscow with more severe penalties in addition to sanctions.
“Putin is saying, ‘Oh, they’re going to sanction me. They’ve sanctioned me for the last 25 years. You mean I can take over a whole country and they’re gonna sanction me. You mean they’re not gonna blow us to pieces, at least psychologically?’”
‘The problem is not that Putin is smart, which of course he’s smart, but the real problem is that our leaders are dumb. Dumb. So dumb.’
Putin announced a “special military operation” in Ukraine on Thursday, insisting it was a necessary step to counter what he said was “aggression” by Kiev against the Donbass republics, which have been in the state of a perpetual military conflict with Kiev since the 2014 coup. The Kremlin argued that the Ukrainian troops had been gearing up to take the territories under control of the Donetsk and Lugansk republics by force to put an end to the 8-year-long “war.” Kiev had denied it was planning such an offensive, and has accused Russia of an unmotivated attack.