Trump's Latest Take On Putin's War In Ukraine Has People Scratching Their Heads

Former President Donald Trump's various takes on Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine, a sovereign democratic nation, continues to confound people as he contradicts himself, members of the Republican party, and his wife. 

As the world feared that Putin would indeed invade the country bordering Russia after it annexed the region of Crimea in 2014, Trump praised the Russian president for his tactics on the conservative radio show "The Clay Travis and Buck Sexton Show" (via NPR).

"I went in yesterday and there was a television screen, and I said, 'This is genius.' Putin declares a big portion ... of Ukraine, Putin declares it as independent," Trump told the radio hosts.

A week after the invasion, Melania Trump broke with her husband's thoughts on Ukraine when she released a statement condemning the invasion and asking for Red Cross donations to help Ukrainians.

"It is heartbreaking and horrific to see innocent people suffering," the former first lady tweeted. "My thoughts and prayers are with the Ukrainian people. Please, if you can, donate to help them."

Donald Trump speaks out against the Ukraine invasion but praises Vladimir Putin

Now, Trump has made more confusing statements about Ukraine, President Vladimir Putin, and President Joe Biden, which have left people scratching their heads.

Despite the fact that he is no longer president, Trump can't stop talking about Russia and Ukraine. And, while he now believes the situation is going to deteriorate fast, he is still heaping praise on Putin, a man whom he's seemed to admire since his 2016 campaign and throughout his presidency.

"Do you think Putin is going to stop? It's going to get worse and worse. He's not going to accept it," Trump said on March 13, 2022, according to NBC News. "And we don't have anybody to talk to him. You had somebody to talk to him with me; no one was ever tougher on Russia than me."

Trump went on to declare what President Biden should be doing about the situation. 

"The U.S. must make clear to Putin that he has two choices: To negotiate peace right now or face blistering consequences, including a push to permanently eliminate dependence on Russian energy," Trump said, with NBC News pointing out that President Biden has already banned all Russian imports, including oil.

Still, Trump could not bring himself to say anything negative about Putin himself. "It happens to be a man that is just driven," Trump said of the Russian president. "He's driven to put it together."

The former president alienates Republicans with his remarks

Not only have Republican officials come out against Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine, so have Republican voters — and lawmakers have had to embark on a balancing act so as to not alienate both their base and Donald Trump.

South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, who barely ever speaks out against the former president, called Trump's recent remarks praising Putin a "mistake," while former Vice President Mike Pence said that there's "no room" in the Republican party for "Putin apologists," according to NBC News.

Trump also may have a Republican voter problem since people can see for themselves what Putin is doing through the media.

"I don't think we're doing enough," Republican voter Mary King told NBC News as gas prices rose across the globe. "Ask the public what they are willing to sacrifice. I pray every day to St. Nicholas to save the children in Ukraine who are in danger."

Trump has been singing Putin's praises for decades

Donald Trump's fondness for Vladimir Putin was obvious from before he ever ran for president in 2016. In fact, it was on such display for years that CNN did a compilation of Trump's praise for the Russian president in September 2016 before the election between him and Hillary Clinton was held. The cable news outlet went as far back as 2007 finding Trump singing Putin's praises, saying he was doing a great job. In December 2015, he defended the autocrat against allegations that he killed journalists, while also condemning the United States.

"He's running his country and at least he's a leader, unlike what we have in this country," Trump said (via CNN). "I think our country does plenty of killing also."

In 2016, soon after he won the election, Trump called Putin "very smart" (via Politico). However, it was a meeting in Helsinki in 2018 when Trump's admiration for Putin became most apparent. During a post-summit press conference, Trump was asked whether he believed Putin or U.S. intelligence agencies regarding whether Russia interfered in the 2016 election. Putin denied any interference and Trump said he believed him (via NPR).