'This is Genius': Trump Praises Russia's Recognition of DPR & LPR's Independence
© AP Photo / Susan Walsh In this June 28, 2019, file photo, President Donald Trump, right, meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin during a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Osaka, Japan.
© AP Photo / Susan Walsh
Former US President Donald Trump described Russian President Vladimir Putin’s move to recognize the sovereignty of the Donetsk People's Republic and the Lugansk People's Republic as “genius.”
Trump made his remark while appearing on “The Clay Travis and Buck Sexton Show.”
When asked about Russia recognizing the two breakaway states, Trump had nothing but praise for Putin.
“I went in yesterday and there was a television screen,” Trump noted, adding, “and I said, ‘This is genius.’”
The former president continued, “Putin declares a big portion of the [sic] Ukraine — of Ukraine. Putin declares it as independent. Oh, that’s wonderful,” Trump said.
He added: “So, Putin is now saying, ‘It’s independent,’ a large section of Ukraine. I said, ‘How smart is that?’ And he’s gonna go in and be a peacekeeper. That’s strongest peace force…That’s the strongest peace force I’ve ever seen. There were more army tanks than I’ve ever seen. They’re gonna keep peace all right. No, but think of it. Here’s a guy who’s very savvy… I know him very well. Very, very well.”
Later in the interview, Trump voiced his belief that if he were still president, the situation in Ukraine would be different due to his personal relationship with Putin and the latter’s strong stance.
“This would never has [sic] happened if we were there. But he did….How come there was none of this was happening during the Trump administration? I knew Putin very well. I got along with him great. He liked me. I liked him. I mean, you know, he’s a tough cookie, got a lot of the great charm and a lot of pride. But the way he — and he loves his country, you know? He loves his country. He’s acting a little differently I think now,” Trump continued.
Trump’s remarks drew a response from the White House.
Jen Psaki, White House press secretary, said at a press briefing hours later: “As a matter of policy, we try not to take advice from anyone who praises President Putin and his military strategy, which I believe is what happened there.”
Psaki also championed US President Joe Biden’s tactics regarding the situation in Ukraine, over the suggestions of Trump.
“So there's a bit of a different tactic, a bit of a different approach, and that's probably why President Biden, and not his predecessor, was able to rally the world and the global community in taking steps against Russia's aggression,” she noted.
The Tuesday interview also saw Trump talk about the Biden presidency, immigration, COVID-19, the economy, inflation, and hinted again without speaking openly of a possible run for the White House in 2024.
Trump's remarks came as Biden announced the US' "first tranche" of sanctions against Russia over its recognition of the LPR and DPR. Similar sanction efforts have since been followed by the UK, Australia, Japan and Canada.