Donald Trump would have handed Ukraine to Vladimir Putin on a silver platter

Donald Trump would have handed Ukraine to Vladimir Putin on a silver platter
Russian President Vladimir Putin with Donald Trump at the 2017 G-20 Hamburg Summit, Wikimedia Commons

Donald Trump has been subjected to withering criticism for praising Vladimir Putin's "genius" and "savvy" for his invasion of Ukraine. As Jonathan Chait from The Intelligencer notes, the former president's support of Putin is just the latest example of Trump's anti-Ukraine posture.

He writes: "Twenty years ago, there was no significant reservoir of opposition to Ukrainian independence and democracy. The burgeoning alliance between Russian nationalists and America Firsters was set in motion when Paul Manafort went to work for the pro-Russian Party of Regions in Ukraine in 2004. Manafort, once one of the most powerful Republican lobbyists in Washington, had begun a globetrotting career selling his services to dictators. His Ukrainian client, Viktor Yanukovych and the Party of Regions, was Putin’s main organ for maintaining control of his neighboring country."

Manafort, of course, went on to lead Trump's presidential campaign and undoubtedly influenced Trump's views on Ukraine's independence from Russia. Then there was the "perfect" phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. Trump has demonstrated again and again that he's in lock-step with Putin on the position that Ukraine doesn't deserve to be considered a Democratic, independent state, Chait says.

Early in his term, Trump "had clearly absorbed Putin’s idea that Ukraine was corrupt and undeserving of sovereignty. Trump regularly flummoxed his staff by insisting Ukraine was 'horrible, corrupt people' and 'wasn’t a ‘real country,’ that it had always been a part of Russia, and that it was ‘totally corrupt,'" Chait writes.

By the time Putin's first tanks stormed into Ukraine, the pro-Russia Trump storyline was being amplified by Fox News host Tucker Carlson, who asserted that “Ukraine, to be technical, is not a democracy, and by the way, Ukraine is a pure client state of the United States State Department.”

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