Jen Psaki roasts Trump after he called Putin's move on Ukraine 'genius'

Jen Psaki roasts Trump after he called Putin's move on Ukraine 'genius'
Jen Psaki slams Trump for calling Putin’s invasion of Ukraine ‘genius’ and ...
The Independent

Former US President Donald Trump has been criticised for branding Russian President Vladimir Putin “savvy” and calling his move on Ukraine “genius”.

Tensions were heightened after Putin declared two rebel-backed regions in Ukraine as independent - a move US President Joe Biden has called “the beginning of a Russian invasion”.

But Trump had a different take on the matter. In an interview with Clay Travis and Buck Sexton, he said it was “wonderful”.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki was asked about Trump’s comments during a press conference.

In her response, she delivered the most diplomatic and sophisticated roast we’ve seen this year.

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Psaki said: “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 there, expresses an openness to lifting sanctions about the seizing of territories in Crimea, or at any point in time told leaders of the G7 that Crimea is a part of Russia, regardless of their former president.

“So there’s a bit of a different tactic, a bit of a different approach and 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.”

Twitter enjoyed Psaki’s takedown, with one Twitter user calling her the “gold standard of press secretaries”:

It follows Biden announcing a string of sanctions against Russia. Two large financial institutions, Russian sovereign debt, and “Russia’s elites and their family members” are now facing sanctions. He also said they would back Germany in blocking the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia.

Biden warned that this is the “first tranche” of sanctions, and said he would “escalate sanctions if Russia escalates”.

Following the press conference, Republicans were mocked for criticising the way Biden left the room.

Circling back to the former president - what did Trump actually say about Putin?

In an interview with Clay Travis and Buck Sexton on Tuesday, Trump said: “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.

“I said, ‘How smart is that?’ And he’s gonna go in and be a peacekeeper.”

He added: "Here's a guy who's very savvy… I know him very well."

Trump also said: “This never would have happened with us. Had I been in office, not even thinkable.”

A similar sentiment was echoed in a statement retweeted by Liz Harrington, Trump’s spokesperson.

Harrington retweeted a statement posted by Margo Martin, the deputy director of communications for “Save America” and Trump.

It read: "If properly handled, there was absolutely no reason that the situation currently happening in Ukraine should have happened at all. I know Vladimir Putin very well, and he would have never done during the Trump administration what he is doing now, no way!"

For more Ukraine news, follow The Independent’s live blog.

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