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Trump condemns Russia invasion; hints again at 2024 presidential run

World Feb 27, 2022 02:01AM ET
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2/2 © Reuters. Former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Orlando, Florida, U.S. February 26, 2022. REUTERS/Marco Bello 2/2

By Alexandra Ulmer

ORLANDO, Fla. (Reuters) -Former President Donald Trump condemned on Saturday Russia's invasion of Ukraine and said he was praying for Ukrainians, switching tone from his praise for Russian President Vladimir Putin earlier this week.

Trump's remarks at the CPAC conservative gathering in Florida came hours after the United States and allies announced sweeping new sanctions that would kick some Russian banks off the main global payments systems and limit the ability of Russia's central bank to support the rouble.

Addressing an adoring crowd at an event that touts itself as the world's largest conservative gathering, Trump used his speech to bash Democratic President Joe Biden and again hint at a possible run for president in 2024.

Trump had irked some Republican party members by describing Putin's actions in Ukraine, where cities have been pounded by Russian artillery and cruise missiles, as "genius" and "pretty savvy."

Trump expressed empathy for Ukrainians and this time praised Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, calling him "brave" as he stays in Kyiv, the capital.

"The Russian attack on Ukraine is appalling. We are praying for the proud people of Ukraine. God bless them all," Trump said.

Trump said that Putin took advantage of Biden's being "weak" to attack Ukraine. He also linked the invasion to the U.S. 2020 presidential election, a fixation of his, again falsely saying that fraud was to blame for Biden's victory.

"As everyone understands, this horrific disaster would never have happened if our election was not rigged and if I was the president," he said, to which a woman in the packed audience responded: "You are the president!"

Trump has not confirmed whether he will run for president again in 2024, but has hinted at it heavily recently and did so again on Saturday.

"On November 2024, they (Democrats) will find out like never before. We did it twice, and we'll do it again. We're going to be doing it again, a third time," Trump said.

Democratic lawyer Marc Elias tweeted that Trump's words should trigger a "series of legal requirements related to his spend and disclosures."

Trump's fundraising operations have raised a cash pile of more than $100 million and he is criss-crossing the country holding rallies.

TRUMP BLAMES BIDEN, WORLD LEADERS

Trump also cited Russia's invasion of Georgia under George W. Bush and Crimea under Barack Obama before declaring: "I stand as the only president of the 21st century on whose watch Russia did not invade another country."

Trump did address his past praise of Putin, saying he was correct that Putin was smart because he was outfoxing world leaders and NATO. "The real problem is that our leaders are dumb, dumb. So dumb," he said.

The Democratic National Committee criticized Trump's comments. "The defeated former president took the stage at CPAC to double down on his shameless praise for Putin," it said in a statement.

In an interview released earlier on Saturday, Biden mocked Trump's comment that Putin was a "genius."

"I put as much stock in Trump saying that Putin is a genius than when he called himself a stable genius," Biden said.

Conservatives at the CPAC conference in Orlando, Florida, which ends on Sunday, have repeated the line that Putin decided to invade Ukraine because he knew Biden was "weak."

Republican politicians have broadly steered clear of lauding Putin, however, and hot-button domestic issues, such as mask mandates, have featured far more heavily than foreign policy.

Earlier on Saturday, J.D. Vance, a Republican candidate for an Ohio U.S. Senate seat, said the American political class was fixated on the Ukraine conflict to the detriment of problems closer to home, such as record crossings at the Mexican border.

"I'm sick of being told that we have to care more about people 6,000 miles away than we do people like my mom, and my grandparents, and all the kids who are affected by this crisis," said Vance, a venture capitalist and author.

Trump condemns Russia invasion; hints again at 2024 presidential run
 

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Comments (16)
Tre Hsi
Tre Hsi Mar 01, 2022 6:56AM ET
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"J.D. Vance, a Republican candidate for an Ohio U.S. Senate seat, said the American political class was fixated on the Ukraine conflict to the detriment of problems closer to home"  -- yes, why focus on Russia invading a real country with tanks and helicopters when we can focus on a fake problem of brown people crossing the US border on foot
gab nea
gab nea Feb 28, 2022 5:49AM ET
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he loves russia more than America, and wants to be president,why? to destroy it more? go away already, please.
Jay Garrelts
Jay Garrelts Feb 28, 2022 4:12AM ET
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What does he want to create more money in two months then since the signing of the Constitution again Trump and Joe is a joke
John Doe
ForexInsiders Feb 27, 2022 9:46PM ET
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If anyone could be unbiased anymore, anyone would admit all parties of the US Govmnt is corrupt. Both are embarassments
Tony Barnes
Tony Barnes Feb 27, 2022 5:49PM ET
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When he says Putin is smart he has voted himself out in 2024
Maximus Maximus
Maximus Maximus Feb 27, 2022 7:02AM ET
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Now that putin is losing, the rat is abandoning ship
Daniele Coppa
Daniele Coppa Feb 27, 2022 7:02AM ET
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Putin is losing?!?!!! in 1991 Gorbachev declared Russia without Ukraine is like a body without head. Ukraine is the place where 1000 years ago Russia born. Putin will never let Ukraine sign to be a NATO allies.
Edward Chong
Edward Chong Feb 27, 2022 6:30AM ET
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this loser never admits it.
gab nea
gab nea Feb 27, 2022 2:18AM ET
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Has-beens should go away quietly into the night, no longer interested!
Xin Zhang
Xin Zhang Feb 27, 2022 1:43AM ET
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Lmao, didn't Trump have a bromance with Putin?
Vv Pp
Vv Pp Feb 27, 2022 1:27AM ET
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fascist garbage everywhere 💩💩💩
 
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