Former President Donald Trump on Saturday said that Russian President Vladimir Putin had been “emboldened” to invade Ukraine after witnessing the “incompetent” U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan last year – as he said that the U.S. would not be in this position if he was still in the White House.
“First of all, it’s shocking because it should have never happened, it would not have happened” Trump said on “Fox & Friends.”
Trump was reacting to the growing tensions on the Ukraine-Russia border amid fears of an imminent Russian invasion. Earlier Saturday the State Department ordered non-emergency personnel at the Embassy in Kyiv to evacuate, hours after White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan urged Americans to get out of the country.
“As we’ve said before, we are in the window when an invasion could begin at any time, should Vladimir Putin decide to order it,” Sullivan said at a White House news briefing.
Trump says the blame for the situation belongs to the Biden administration and tied it to the August withdrawal from Afghanistan – claiming that both China and Russia were watching closely.
“How we got here is when they watched Afghanistan, and they watched the most incompetent withdrawal in the history of probably any army let alone just us, and President Xi [Jinping] and President Putin – watch what happens with China very soon with Taiwan – and they watched that, and they said: ‘What’s going on? They don’t know what they’re doing.’ And all of a sudden I think they got a lot more ambitious.”
“I think Putin really wanted to negotiate for a period of time, but when he watched Afghanistan when he watched that unbelievably bad withdrawal, incompetent, where they took the Military out first, where they left $85 billion worth of equipment behind for the Taliban to have and to use and of course the deaths that happened – when they watched all of that I think they got emboldened.”
He claimed again that the situation would not be where it is now if he were still president.
“I know him very well, got along with him very well, I stopped his pipeline, I sanctioned them more than anybody ever sanctioned them,” he said. “No one was ever tougher on Russia, but I got along with Putin very well, we respected each other. I think you have a whole different ball game right now.”
President Biden will speak to Putin on Saturday, but Trump dismissed the importance of such a phone call.
“This is just an exercise, he’s not going to tell him anything and I don’t think at this point Putin’s at this point going to be listening,” he said.