Caller said Trump was Putin’s puppet
James from Lincoln, Illinois, called Washington Journal’s open phones segment on the Republican line to comment on the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
“I think the Republican Party has let the American people down,” he began. “To hear these people talk and side with Putin is very discouraging.”
He continued: “I believe that Vladimir Putin had a puppet in America, which was President Trump, and anybody that would allow bounties on American soldiers… to let that stand is just unconscionable.”
While on Thursday many Republicans have come out in support of a strong response against Russia for the invasion, former President Donald Trump has spoken highly of the Russian leader in recent days — as have a number of pundits, podcasters, such as Steve Bannon, and TV anchors, notably on Fox News’ evening line-up.
Mr Trump called Mr Putin’s first moves on Ukraine “genius” in an interview just days ago.
“I went in yesterday and there was a television screen, and I said, ‘This is genius.’ Putin declares a big portion of the Ukraine – of Ukraine. Putin declares it as independent. Oh, that’s wonderful,” said Mr Trump, crowing about the Russian leader’s supposed strategic brilliance.
“I said, ‘How smart is that?’ And he’s gonna go in and be a peacekeeper,” Mr Trump went on, before quipping that the massive Russian military buildup in Russian and Belarusian territory amounted to “the strongest peace force I’ve ever seen”.
Mr Trump then went on to claim that “this never would have happened” with his administration, and claimed erroneously that President Joe Biden had no response to the latest developments in the region.
While president, Mr Trump said he has “never discussed” reports of alleged Russian bounties on US troops in Afghanistan with Mr Putin, despite having reportedly spoken with the Russian president on at least eight occasions since the relevant intelligence was included in his daily briefing.
The president received a daily briefing in February 2020 that said Russia was placing bounties on the heads of US troops, with payments costing up to $100,000, according to the New York Times.