Former President Donald Trump ripped President Joe Biden as “stupid” and said that European countries are essentially taking advantage of his weakness to shirk responsibility for providing additional arms and equipment to Ukraine following Russia’s 2021 invasion.
In an interview with NBC’s “Meet the Press” anchor Kristen Welker, Trump laid out his strategy for ending the conflict, which has reportedly left hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians and Russians dead or wounded.
“I think that Europe has to do more,” Trump said after Welker asked him if Ukraine was linked to U.S. national security. “We’re in for $200 billion, they’re in for $25 billion. And [the war] affects them more than it does us.”
Pressed further, Trump added: “I think Europe is taking advantage of a stupid president,” a reference to Biden. “Biden should say to them, ‘You have to equalize. You have to catch up.’ Europe is about the same size as our economy if you add [all European economies] up. And Biden should say to them like I did with NATO. I said get your money in.”
Welker then pivoted. “I want to ask you about something President Putin said about you this week. I don’t know if you’ve seen it. This was very recent. President Putin said, quote, ‘We surely hear that Mr. Trump says he will resolve all burning issues within several days, including the Ukrainian crisis. We cannot help but feel happy about it.’ What do you make of that? Do you welcome this support?” she asked.
“Well, I like that he said that. Because that means what I’m saying is right. I would get him into a room. I’d get Zelenskyy into a room. Then I’d bring them together. And I’d have a deal worked out. I would get a deal worked out. It would’ve been a lot easier before it started,” Trump began.
“Essentially, for four years, I kept them from doing anything. Because you know what? I never said this. Ukraine was the apple of [Putin’s] eye. I said, ‘Don’t ever do it. Don’t ever do it,'” Trump continued. “He would have never done it. But again, oil prices. He wouldn’t have done it because of me. But oil prices. The prices were so high that he had so much money. So he had all this money to prosecute the war. The one who drove up the prices was Biden.”
Welker noted the casualty rates as well as Putin’s military targeting civilian centers such as maternity wards, kidnapping tens of thousands of children, and other acts while asking the former president if he welcomed the Russian leader’s pseudo-endorsement.
Trump countered that he was tough on Putin but also got along with him and that isn’t a bad thing considering Russia’s nuclear might.
“Look, I had a very good relationship with him. And yet nobody was tougher on Russia than me,” he said. ” There was nobody tougher than me with Russia. And yet I got along with Putin. Let me tell you, I got along with him really well. And that’s a good thing, not a bad thing.
“He’s got 1,700 nuclear missiles. And so do we. But, look, that’s a good thing. Getting along is okay. But I got along through strength. And the war would have never happened. The war would have never happened,” Trump continued, adding: “Now, it’s a humanitarian thing. It’s a lot of different reasons. But I will get that war stopped very, very quickly.”