Trump: Putin praise means ‘what I’m saying is right’

Former President Trump in a new interview welcomed recent comments from Russian President Vladimir Putin embracing Trump’s pledge to end the war in Ukraine within 24 hours if he’s reelected.

“Meet the Press” moderator Kristen Welker quoted recent comments from Putin in which the Russian leader said Trump “says he will resolve all burning issues within several days, including the Ukrainian crisis. We cannot help but feel happy about it.”

“I like that he said that because that means what I’m saying is right,” Trump said when asked about the comments in an interview published Friday. “I would get him into a room, I would get [Ukrainian President] Zelensky into a room and I would get a deal worked out.”

Trump has frequently pledged that he would bring the conflict between Russia and Ukraine to an end in a matter of hours if elected president, something his Republican rivals and Democratic critics have scoffed at and suggested could only happen by ceding to Putin’s demands.

When Welker noted that Russian forces have bombed Ukrainian maternity wards and indiscriminately targeted civilians, Trump said, “it’s all terrible.”

Russia launched an unprovoked invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. The Biden administration, with bipartisan support in Congress, has provided billions of dollars in military and humanitarian assistance to Ukraine in the months since, with President Biden vowing to stand with Ukraine for as long as it takes to win the war.

Trump has been critical of ongoing U.S. support, and some of his allies in Congress have opposed additional funding for Ukraine.

The former president has faced frequent criticism for his attitude and rhetoric toward Putin. 

Trump repeatedly downplayed the intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia interfered with the 2016 U.S. presidential election, and he has praised Putin’s intelligence multiple times, including calling the Russian leader a “genius” for recognizing two breakaway territories in eastern Ukraine before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Asked by Welker if he welcomes Putin’s support, Trump stressed that Russia did not invade Ukraine while he was in office before reiterating that he and the Russian leader have a “very good relationship.”.

“I got along with him really well, and that’s a good thing, not a bad thing,” Trump said. “Getting along is OK. But I got along through strength. And the war would have never happened. Now what happened, it’s so bad.”

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