LANSING – “Genius.” “Smart.” “Savvy.”
These are just some of the shocking words of praise, admiration and adulation that former President Donald Trump heaped on Russian President Vladimir Putin and his brutal, unprovoked attack on another sovereign European nation, according to media reports.
The Michigan Democratic Party is calling on all Michigan Republicans to denounce members of the GOP and their extreme right-wing allies for using their words to undermine the United States and our country’s allies. Comments like these also give safe harbor and coddle autocrats like Putin during this international crisis.
“This kind of support and adulation for a ruthless authoritarian leader has absolutely no place in our democracy and it’s time those in the Republican Party acknowledged that and denounced these reckless comments in no uncertain terms,” said Lavora Barnes, chair of the Michigan Democratic Party. “Words like these matter and they give shelter to foreign enemies set on chaos.”
In particular, Barnes called on Tom Barrett, John James and Peter Meijer – all veterans seeking higher office – to denounce Putin’s actions and Trump’s words of praise and encouragement.
“This is the time for all Americans to stand together and collectively condemn Vladimir Putin,” Barnes said. “Sadly, many on the right see it as yet another opportunity to gloat and show adoration for a brutal autocrat’s mission to launch a devastating attack on a sovereign nation without provocation.”
On Wednesday, just before the start of the Russian invasion, media reports noted Trump praised Putin at a Mar-a-Lago event for campaign donors. “I mean he’s taking over a country for $2 worth of sanctions,” Trump said. “I’d say that’s pretty smart.”
A day earlier, during an interview on a right-wing radio program, 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. So, Putin is now saying, ‘It’s independent,’ a large section of Ukraine. I said, ‘How smart is that?’ And he’s gonna go in and be a peacekeeper. That’s strongest peace force … We could use that on our southern border.”
In the same interview, Trump went on to say: “Here’s a guy that says, you know, ‘I’m gonna declare a big portion of Ukraine independent’ — he used the word ‘independent’ — ‘and we’re gonna go out and we’re gonna go in and we’re gonna help keep peace.’ You gotta say that’s pretty savvy. And you know what the response was from Biden? There was no response.”