(FiveNation.com)- Former President Donald Trump is no stranger to controversy, but he entered new territory recently when he said Russian President Vladimir Putin was “very savvy” after he first recognized two regions in eastern Ukraine as independent states and then invaded them on a “peacekeeping” mission.
Ultimately, that was just the first step Putin took in what has now become a full-fledged invasion into Ukraine that is concerning people all over the world.
This week, Olivia Troye, a former White House official during the Trump administration, said the former president’s comments were “despicable.”
President Joe Biden immediately classified the moves Putin made as a pretext for an invasion that eventually followed, and a clear violation of international law. At the same time, Trump described the move made by the Russian president as “genius.”
During an appearance on The Clay Travis & Buck Sexton Show, Trump said on Tuesday:
“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. Oh, that’s wonderful.
“I said, ‘How smart is that?’ And he’s gonna go in and be a peacekeeper. We could use that on our southern border. That’s the strongest peace force I’ve ever seen.
“Here’s a guy who’s very savvy. I know him very well. Very, very well.”
Those comments had many people up in arms — people from both sides of the political aisle, and plenty of people who served directly under Trump while he was in the White House. Troye, who served as an adviser for counterterrorism and Homeland Security for Trump’s vice president, Mike Pence, tweeted followed those comments:
“Absolutely despicable that Trump, his loyal pundits & many Republicans remain an asset & mouthpiece for Russian propaganda — Even more abhorrent that a fmr U.S. President would praise Putin’s tyrannical actions on Ukraine & suggest them as a strategy for use on our Southern Border.”
Plenty of others made very public criticisms of Trump’s comments. One of those people was Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary. After being directly asked about Trump’s comments, she told reporters:
“As a matter of policy, we try not to take advice from anyone who praises President Putin and his military strategy, which I believe is what happened here.”
Psaki then referenced reports that, when he was president, Trump told leaders of the G7 in 2018 that Crimea was actually part of Russia because the residents there spoke Russian. Crimea is the now-former territory of Ukraine that Russia annexed back in 2014.
“That’s probably why President Biden, and not his predecessor, was able to rally the world and the global community in taking steps against Russia’s aggression.”
The Biden administration’s response has been vastly different from the comments Trump gave. Once Russian troops arrived in Ukraine’s Donbas region, Biden called it “the beginning of a Russian invasion,” which is exactly what it’s turned out to be.