Former US President Donald Trump tried to defend his description of Russian President Vladimir Putin as “smart”, as he sought to calm accusations that he admired the invasion of Ukraine, and suggested that he would run for the next presidential election in 2024, according to the newspaper.The Guardian“.
“The Russian attack on Ukraine is appalling,” Trump told the annual conservative gathering in Orlando, Florida, in front of a gathering of 5,000 people, Saturday night. Our elections are rigged and if you are president.”
Trump, who invoked the “America First” approach, claimed that Russia and other countries respected the United States when he was president and blamed current US President Joe Biden for demonstrating the country’s weakness on the world stage.
“I have no doubt that President Putin made his decision to attack Ukraine mercilessly only after witnessing the pathetic withdrawal from Afghanistan, where the army was taken out first, and our soldiers and American hostages were killed,” he said.
Trump hit back at criticism this week for calling Putin’s invasion of separatist regions of Ukraine a “genius” and a “smart” Putin.
He said, “The problem is not that Putin is smart, which of course is smart, but the real problem is that our leaders are stupid. So far they have allowed him to get away with this farce and the assault on humanity.”
He stressed that Putin did not suffer any repercussions other than sanctions, which he ignored for 25 years.
“I’ve been with Putin a lot, I’ve spent a lot of time with him, and I’ve done a lot of things that have been very difficult for Russia,” Trump said. “No president has been as tough on Russia as I have been.”
Trump, whose presidential campaign has made more than 100 contacts with Russia, claimed that “as far as what’s happening now, it was very easy for me to prevent this farce from happening. He understood me and understood that I don’t play games.”
“One day, I will tell you exactly what we talked about, for Ukraine, I told him not to let it happen and I told him it was better for him not to.”
He added, “I also warned NATO of the dangers of Russia and look at the consequences. In terms of foreign policy, the world was afraid of me and knew that I would stand strong for Americans’ priorities.”
During Trump’s 85-minute talk, the audience present at the largest annual meeting of conservatives was whistling to announce their support and approval of his statements, while some were chanting “United States.”
“Under Bush, Russia invaded Georgia. Under Obama, Russia took Crimea. Under Biden, Russia invaded Ukraine. I stand as the only president of the 21st century in which Russia hasn’t invaded another country,” Trump said.
Trump, who ran in the 2016 and 2020 elections, gave his strongest hint yet that he would run for president in 2024, while many in the audience wore hats reading “Make America Great Again” and “Trump 2024” slogans, while some shouted “” Four more years,” and “We want Trump.”
In contrast, Democrats rejected the speech, condemning Trump for still being close to Putin.
“After spending four years selling Ukraine, the defeated ex-president took to the podium of the Conservative Political Action Conference to redouble his rude praises of Putin as innocent Ukrainians shelter from Russia’s bombs and missiles,” said Democratic National Committee spokesman Adona Bell. .