Donald Trump may be more than a year out of office, but he’s continuing to solidify his position as the worst President of the United States. Putin’s deadly, anti-democratic invasion of Ukraine has provided us with yet another opportunity to see where Trump’s values, heart, and admiration lie. As rockets rain down on an American ally, Trump has managed to hit a new low as the de facto President of the Vladimir Putin Fan Club.
At a fundraising event at Mar-a-Lago on Wednesday, Trump offered no words of solidarity with Ukraine. Instead, Trump praised Putin as a “pretty smart” leader. Always thinking transactionally, Trump reasoned that Putin’s massive assault on a neighboring sovereign nation makes sense because Ukraine is “a great piece of land” and it comes at the expense of merely “$2 worth of sanctions.”
All living former Presidents of the United States have now issued statements on the unfolding horror. Jimmy Carter, whose presidency took place during the Cold War, lambasted Russia’s “unprovoked attack,” claiming that Russia’s use of military and cyber weapons “violates international law and the fundamental human rights of the Ukrainian people.” He then called on Putin to restore peace and urged U.S. allies to “stand with the people of Ukraine in support of their right to peace, security, and self-determination.”
Bill Clinton similarly slammed Putin’s “war of choice,” accusing him of having “unraveled 30 years of diplomacy and put millions of innocent lives in grave danger.” Clinton pledged that the international community “will hold Russia and Russia alone accountable,” and that he personally stands with Ukraine’s citizens while praying for their safety.
Barack Obama pointed out that Ukraine attracted Putin’s ire simply because its people “chose a path of sovereignty, self-determination, and democracy.” He called for bipartisan unity in sanctioning Russia while warning against “the forces of division and authoritarianism” that have been “mounting an assault on the ideals of democracy, rule of law, equality, individual liberty, freedom of expression and worship, and self-determination.” Obama connected the dots to Russia’s Ukraine invasion as a prime example of “where these dangerous trends can lead—and why they cannot be left unchallenged.”
Finally, George W. Bush also condemned Russia, calling its attack on Ukraine “the gravest security crisis on the European continent since World War II.” Bush insisted that Americans must “stand in solidarity with Ukraine and the Ukrainian people as they seek freedom and the right to choose their own future” and that we must not “tolerate the authoritarian bullying and danger that Putin poses.”
Once again, Trump has distinguished himself from his predecessors in the worst way. Despite “several longtime associates” urging Trump this week to cut the Putin flattery in light of world events, they knew not to have “high hopes,” according to The Daily Beast. This isn’t the first time Trump has expressed his unabashed support for authoritarianism, and his comments this week prove that Putin’s puppet has neither the ability nor the desire to restrain himself.