Estimated learn time: 3-4 minutes
ORLANDO, Fla. — Former President Donald Trump on Saturday condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and mentioned he was praying for Ukrainians, switching tone from his reward for Russian President Vladimir Putin earlier this week.
Trump’s remarks on the CPAC conservative gathering in Florida got here hours after the US and allies introduced sweeping new sanctions that might kick some Russian banks off the primary international funds programs and restrict the power of Russia’s central financial institution to help the rouble.
Addressing an adoring crowd at an occasion that touts itself because the world’s largest conservative gathering, Trump used his speech to bash Democratic President Joe Biden and once more trace at a attainable run for president in 2024.
Trump had irked some Republican get together members by describing Putin’s actions in Ukraine, the place cities have been pounded by Russian artillery and cruise missiles, as “genius” and “fairly savvy.”
Trump expressed empathy for Ukrainians and this time praised Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, calling him “courageous” as he stays in Kyiv, the capital.
“The Russian assault on Ukraine is appalling. We’re praying for the proud individuals of Ukraine. God bless all of them,” Trump mentioned.
Trump mentioned that Putin took benefit of Biden’s being “weak” to assault Ukraine. He additionally linked the invasion to the 2020 presidential election, a fixation of his, once more falsely saying that fraud was in charge for Biden’s victory.
“As everybody understands, this horrific catastrophe would by no means have occurred if our election was not rigged and if I used to be the president,” he mentioned, to which a girl within the packed viewers responded: “You’re the president!”
Trump has not confirmed whether or not he’ll run for president once more in 2024, however has hinted at it closely lately and did so once more on Saturday.
“On November 2024, they (Democrats) will discover out like by no means earlier than. We did it twice, and we’ll do it once more. We’ll be doing it once more, a 3rd time,” Trump mentioned.
Democratic lawyer Marc Elias tweeted that Trump’s phrases ought to set off a “collection of authorized necessities associated to his spend and disclosures.”
Trump’s fundraising operations have raised a money pile of greater than $100 million and he’s crisscrossing the nation holding rallies.
Trump blames Biden, world leaders
Trump additionally cited Russia’s invasion of Georgia beneath George W. Bush and Crimea beneath Barack Obama earlier than declaring: “I stand as the one president of the twenty first century on whose watch Russia didn’t invade one other nation.”
Trump did tackle his previous reward of Putin, saying he was right that Putin was sensible as a result of he was outfoxing world leaders and NATO. “The actual drawback is that our leaders are dumb, dumb. So dumb,” he mentioned.
The Democratic Nationwide Committee criticized Trump’s feedback. “The defeated former president took the stage at CPAC to double down on his shameless reward for Putin,” it mentioned in a press release.
In an interview launched earlier on Saturday, Biden mocked Trump’s remark that Putin was a “genius.”
“I put as a lot inventory in Trump saying that Putin is a genius than when he referred to as himself a secure genius,” Biden mentioned.
Conservatives on the CPAC convention in Orlando, Florida, which ends on Sunday, have repeated the road that Putin determined to invade Ukraine as a result of he knew Biden was “weak.”
Republican politicians have broadly steered away from lauding Putin, nonetheless, and hot-button home points, comparable to masks mandates, have featured way more closely than international coverage.
Earlier on Saturday, J.D. Vance, a Republican candidate for an Ohio Senate seat, mentioned the American political class was fixated on the Ukraine battle to the detriment of issues nearer to dwelling, comparable to report crossings on the Mexican border.
“I am sick of being advised that we now have to care extra about individuals 6,000 miles away than we do individuals like my mother, and my grandparents, and all the youngsters who’re affected by this disaster,” mentioned Vance, a enterprise capitalist and writer.
Contributing: Steve Holland and Susan Heavey
Extra tales you might be concerned with