(The Daily Signal) — Former President Donald Trump asserted that Russian President Vladimir Putin would not have invaded Ukraine if he were still in office — a statement backed up by broad public opinion.
“As everyone understands, this horrific disaster would never have happened if our election was not rigged, and if I was the president,” Trump said Saturday night, speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando, Florida. “Very simple: It wouldn’t have happened.”
“Under [President George W.] Bush, Russia invaded Georgia. Under [President Barack] Obama, Russia took Crimea. Under [President Joe] Biden, Russia invaded Ukraine,” Trump added.
On Friday, a Harvard/Harris poll said that 62% believe Russia would not have invaded Ukraine if Trump still held the presidency, while 38% said Putin would have invaded even if Trump were still president.
“I stand as the only president of the 21st century on whose watch Russia did not invade another country,” Trump told the supportive crowd.
Putin launched the full-scale invasion of Ukraine last week, prompting Biden and leaders of allied countries to impose sanctions. The economic sanctions were increased on Saturday.
“We are praying for the proud people of Ukraine. God bless them all,” Trump said to strong applause. He also praised Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, saying, “He’s a brave man, he’s hanging in.”
Earlier in the week, before the full-scale invasion commenced, Trump came under criticism for calling Putin a “genius.”
“Reporters asked me if I thought President Putin was smart; I said, ‘Of course, he’s smart’ — to which I was greeted with, ‘ah, that’s such a terrible thing to say.’”
He said the Biden administration and NATO allies are “the opposite of smart.”
“Putin is saying, ‘oh, they’re going to sanction me; they sanctioned me for the last 25 years — you mean I can take over a whole country, and they’re gonna sanction me? You mean they’re not going to blow us to pieces?’” Trump said mockingly.
“The problem is not that Putin is smart, which of course he is, but that our leaders are dumb — they so far allowed him to get away with this travesty and assault on humanity,” Trump continued. “Putin is playing Biden like a drum, and it is not a pretty thing to watch, and it would have been so easy for me to stop this travesty from happening.”
Trump also reminded the crowd where the defensive missiles used by the Ukrainians against the Russians came from.
“I gave Ukraine the Javelins that everyone is now talking about and millions of dollars of other military equipment — the Obama administration gave them blankets,” the 45th president said.
Trump also called for support of the Canadian truckers who protested against vaccine mandates. In response to the peaceful protests, the Canadian government took measures such as freezing the bank accounts of the truckers and those tied to the demonstration.
Trump said Americans should be concerned about “the democracy right next door that is under threat — that is Canada.”
“The tyranny that we have witnessed in Canada in recent weeks should shock and dismay people all over the world. In an advanced western democracy, the peaceful movement of patriotic truckers, workers and families protesting for their most basic rights and liberties has been violently put down.”
“A line has been crossed. You are either with the peaceful truckers, or you are with the left-wing fascists,” Trump continued. “That’s what has been happening. It is a strong line. We stand with the truckers and we stand with the Canadian people in their noble quest to reclaim their freedom.”
Trump was critical of Biden, who defeated him in the 2020 presidential election, on numerous other issues, both foreign and domestic. He specifically criticized Biden over cancel culture, skyrocketing inflation, and the border crisis — all of which became worse under Biden.
“You could take the five worst presidents in American history and put them together and they would not have done the damage that Joe Biden’s administration has done in just a very short 13 months,” Trump said.
“Our country has totally lost its self-confidence,” Trump added. “We, as a country, have no confidence anymore. But we will get it back and we’ll get it back stronger than ever before.”