After 4 years of helping Putin, Trump says he was tough on Russian dictator

ORLANDO, Fla. — Former President Donald Trump went on Saturday to claim that Russian President Vladimir Putin would not have invaded Ukraine had Trump been in the White House — a claim that ignores how Trump spent four years doing advancing policies that corresponded to Putin’s longstanding goals.

“It would have been so easy for me to stop this travesty,” Trump said, while continuing to perpetuate his lie that the 2020 election was “stolen” from him. “As everyone understands, this horrific event would not have happened if there hadn’t been a rigged election and I was president.”

Trump was addressing a few thousand attendees of the annual Conservative Political Action Conference, all crammed into the sprawling main ballroom of Orlando’s Rosen Shingle Creek Hotel, just off the main tourist thoroughfare south of the city.

Earlier this week, Trump praised Putin as a “scholar” and a “genius” for taking over an entire country and suffering only “two dollars in sanctions”.

Thirteen months after leaving office, Trump remains the most influential voice in the Republican Party, especially among the types of activists drawn to events like CPAC. Hundreds of attendees wore “Make American Great Again” caps, “Trump 2024” t-shirts and “Trump Won” buttons. The largest and most active sellers in the showroom were those selling Trump hardware.

From the stage, the person who received the most shouting and praise was the president who tried to overthrow the republic in his bid to stay in power despite losing his election by millions of votes.

“This is Donald Trump’s party, and I’m a Donald Trump Republican,” Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida said hours before Trump arrived.

On Saturday night, Trump continued his attacks on US and NATO leaders, blaming President Joe Biden, a Democrat, for Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. “They’re not that smart. They look the opposite of smart,” Trump said. “Putin plays Biden like a drum, and that’s not a pretty thing.”

Trump praised Putin repeatedly for at least a decade before running for president as he attempted to build a condominium tower in Moscow. In a 2007 letter, he told Putin he was “a huge fan”.

Trump continued to push his “Trump Tower Moscow” project even when he ran for president in 2015 and 2016, and publicly hailed Putin as a better leader than then-President Barack Obama.

In 2016, Trump openly asked for Russia’s help as he ran against Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. He then used equipment stolen by Russian spies to attack Clinton every day in the home stretch of the race, even though he knew it had been stolen by Russian spies.

Once in the White House, Trump repeatedly attacked NATO and the European Union — actions that aligned with Putin’s long-term goals of weakening or destroying both institutions. He falsely claimed that the military alliance created by the United States after World War II and the free trade zone somehow deceived Americans. He was considering withdrawing from NATO altogether and reportedly intends to do so in a second term.

Trump also continued to praise and defend Putin, even telling the world in 2018 that he believed Putin above his own intelligence agencies regarding Putin’s work to get Trump elected. A year later, he tried to have Russia readmitted to the G7 group of major democratic economies, from which it was expelled for invading and annexing Crimea in 2014. Trump said he understood Russia’s need to keep the Crimean peninsula because it had built a base there. for its “large and powerful submarines”.

Also in 2019, Trump tried to extort Volodymyr Zelenskyy, then Ukraine’s newly elected president, to smear Biden, at the time the Democrat he feared most as a 2020 opponent, using 391 million dollars of military aid approved by Congress as leverage. The aide was released only after a whistleblower complaint about it became public, and the episode was the basis for Trump’s first of two impeachments.

Trump, despite losing the election by 7 million votes nationally and 306-232 in the Electoral College, became the first president in more than two centuries of elections to refuse to hand over power peacefully. His instigation of the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol — his last attempt to stay in power — killed five people, including a police officer. The attack also injured 140 other police officers and resulted in the suicide of four officers.

Trump is now under investigation by federal and state officials in multiple jurisdictions. New York State Attorney General Letitia James conducted a civil investigation into her family business, while the Manhattan District Attorney conducted a criminal investigation.

Meanwhile, the district attorney for Fulton County, Georgia, has appointed a special grand jury to focus on Trump’s attempt to coerce state officials to “find” enough votes to reverse his loss of power. this state for the benefit of Biden in 2020.

And the House Jan. 6 committee subpoenaed a growing number of former and current Trump aides to determine his precise role in the events of that day, while the Justice Department confirmed that he was investigating at least one element of Trump’s plan to stay in power. : the subjugation of false Trump “voters” in the states that Biden has won.

At a Jan. 29 rally, Trump called on his supporters to stage “the biggest protests we’ve ever had in Washington, D.C., in New York, in Atlanta and elsewhere ‘if prosecutors come after him,'” because our country and our elections are corrupt.”

Despite this, Trump continues to dominate his party and is openly talking about running for president again in 2024.


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