Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) on Sunday defended former President Donald Trump’s Russia policy after praise from Russian President Vladimir Putin prompted criticism from within the Republican Party.
“He had a very strong Russia policy,” DeSantis added. “In fact, he has provided a great deal of support, defensive support to Ukraine. So I think there is an idea that somehow he wants to be friends with President Putin. There are circles that say so. I know that, but I don’t really think so. I think he was strong.”
Mr. DeSantis remains second to Mr. Trump in the Republican primary, but has struggled to close the gap even as Mr. Trump’s legal problems deepen.
In public remarks last week, Putin denounced Trump’s indictment as a sign of corruption in the U.S. political system and said he and Ukraine’s Volodymyr were working to end the war within 24 hours of taking office. He praised the former president’s promise to unite Zelenskiy.
Putin said Trump “has said that all serious issues, including the Ukraine crisis, will be resolved within the next few days.” We can’t help but be happy about that. ”
“I heard that Mr. Trump said that in a few days he will resolve pressing problems, including the Ukraine crisis. Well, this can only bring happiness. This is good,” Putin said.
Other Republicans pounced on Putin’s comments as proof of Trump’s all-too-cozy relationship with the Russian dictator.
“Let’s be clear: Mr. Trump is being prosecuted for his actions. He played with fire and got burned,” said former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a fellow presidential candidate. I wrote to X, formerly Twitter. “And now his best buddy is coming to his defense. If you’re on the same side as President Putin, you might want to reconsider your position…”
“President Putin now officially supports the Putin faction of the Republican Party.” I wrote it before Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) has been a longtime critic of Trump. “The Putin Republican Party and its promoters will sink into the ashes of history. Patriotic Americans of both parties who believe in liberal democratic values will ensure that. Let’s go.”
DeSantis also dodged a question about whether he thought Trump would end aid to Ukraine if he returned to the White House.
Florida’s governor said he does not support increased U.S. involvement in the war. He also had to retract his own comments describing the nature of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as a “territorial issue.”
“Meet the Press” host Kristen Welker pressed the former president about Putin’s comments in an interview last week.
“I like that he said that, because it means I’m right.” President Trump said. “I’ll take him into the room, I’ll take Zelenskiy into the room, and we’ll close the deal.”
Trump previously called the Russian president a “genius” for recognizing two breakaway territories in eastern Ukraine before Russia invaded the country.
Trump also told Welker that he has a “very good relationship” with Putin and said that shouldn’t be a negative thing.
“I got along very well with him, and that’s not a bad thing, that’s a good thing,” Trump said. “We get along and we’re fine. But we managed by force. And the war would never have happened. Now, what happened is so terrible.”
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