““I mean, he’s taking over a country for $2 worth of sanctions. I’d say that’s pretty smart.” ”
That was former President Donald Trump referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.
Hours before the assault on Ukraine begin, video footage of Trump praising Putin, taken during a fundraiser at his Mar-a-Lago club in Florida, went viral. A tweet of the 31-second video drew almost 555,000 views and was shared ta couple thousand times by Thursday morning — even as world leaders were widely condemning Russia’s attack on Ukraine.
It’s the second time that the former commander-in-chief has called Putin “smart” this week. During a radio interview on “The Clay Travis and Buck Sexton Show” on Tuesday, Trump described Putin’s strategy of recognizing Ukraine’s breakaway regions as a pretext to sending in troops as “genius.”
“I said, ‘How smart is that?’ He’s going to go in and be a peacekeeper,” Trump remarked.
Those comments drew plenty of flack, including from Republican Reps. Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger. Cheney tweeted that “Trump’s interests don’t seem to align with the interests of the United States of America.”
GOP Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy was also not on the same page as former President Trump on Thursday, calling Putin’s invasion”reckless and evil.”
“Putin’s actions must be met with serious consequence … Putin must be held accountable for his actions,” he wrote in a statement shared on Twitter.
Earlier this week, U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said that Putin had “turned his back” on diplomacy, and warned that the Russian leader “must be made to pay a far heavier price than he paid for his previous invasions of Georgia and Ukraine.”
President Biden has also been more critical of Putin than his predecessor. During his Tuesday address on Russia and the Ukraine, he asked, “Who in the Lord’s name does Putin think gives him the right to declare new so-called countries?” while announcing his first tranche of sanctions against Russia.
The sitting POTUS described the Russian invasion as an “unprovoked and unjustified attack on Ukraine” on Wednesday night, and warned that Putin’s “premeditated war” will cause “a catastrophic loss of life and human suffering.”
Biden planned to address the public at 12:30 ET for an updated response on the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The EU is also planning the ‘harshest’ sanctions package ever against Russia.
And the Dow initially tumbled over 700 points and oil prices soared on Thursday morning in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.