Trump brags about his relationship with Putin as Fox News shows body bags in Ukraine

Former President Donald Trump skipped another chance to call Russian President Vladimir Putin’s actions bad on Wednesday, then bragged about his knowledge of the dictator.

“I knew Putin very well. Almost as well as I know you, Sean,” Trump told his close confidant, Fox News host Sean Hannity, as the network aired graphic images of dead bodies and damage left by Russian troops in Ukraine.

“I’ll tell you, we talked about it, we talked about it a lot, he wanted Ukraine, but I said, ‘You’re not going to Ukraine,'” Trump continued. “He would never, ever go to Ukraine.”

Minutes earlier, Hannity had urged Trump to denounce Putin.

“I asked you the last time you were on the show if you thought it was wrong in our time,” Hannity said. “Do you believe this is wrong in our time?”

Trump did not answer the question; instead, he talked about NATO.

“Remember, I rebuilt NATO,” Trump falsely claimed.

Trump also called what was happening in Ukraine “genocide”, joining President Joe Biden in labeling Russia’s atrocities as such.

Last month, Hannity twice tried to convince Trump to condemn Putin during an on-air interview, to no avail. Trump also faced backlash after initially praising what he called the authoritarian leader’s “brilliant” strategy to invade Ukraine. He repeatedly insisted that Putin would not have dared to invade Ukraine if he was still president.

Hannity and Trump’s eldest sons offered their own commentary on the former president’s relationship with Putin. Hannity said Trump’s praise for the Russian president was “taken out of context.” Donald Trump Jr. has claimed that his father’s affection for dictators was an act aimed at “playing these guys”. And Eric Trump praised his father’s ‘great relationship’ with Putin and claimed that if he was still running the country he would have just called Putin and said ‘Vladimir, don’t even think about ‘invading Ukraine’ .

There have been thousands of civilian casualties in Ukraine since the war began in February and Russian troops have been accused of indiscriminately shelling residential areas and targeting civilian shelters. Mariupol’s mayor said this week that more than 20,000 civilian residents had been killed in the invasion. According to the United Nations, some 10 million people in Ukraine have fled their homes.


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