Former US president Donald Trump has said that President Joe Biden and Nato acted “dumb” compared to his “smart” Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin which he said led to the Moscow’s attack on Ukraine.
Trump made the comments during a speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) on Saturday.
“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,” reported RT.
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”.
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“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,” he said adding 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?’”
Trump also cited Russia's invasion of Georgia under George W Bush and Crimea under Barack Obama before declaring: "I stand as the only president of the 21st century on whose watch Russia did not invade another country."
Conservatives at the CPAC conference in Orlando, Florida, which ends on Sunday, have repeated the line that Putin decided to invade Ukraine because he knew Biden was "weak."
Republican politicians have broadly steered clear of lauding Putin, however, and hot-button domestic issues, such as mask mandates, have featured far more heavily than foreign policy.
(With input from Reuters)