Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Trump praises Putin's 'genius' as GOP fissures grow on Ukraine crisis

As congressional Republican leaders push President Joe Biden to act more forcefully to punish Vladimir Putin for sending troops into Ukraine, former GOP President Donald Trump and some of his prominent allies have been praising the Russian leader’s style of power.

The fissures point to a growing divide in the Republican Party, between traditional foreign policy hawks who have advocated for a more confrontational U.S. posture to the Russian strongman and a Trump-aligned “MAGA” faction that has expressed some sympathy for Putin's tactics or described them as effective.

“I went in yesterday and there was a television screen, and I said, ‘This is genius.’ Putin declares a big portion of Ukraine — Putin declares it as independent. Oh, that’s wonderful,” Trump told a conservative podcaster in an interview published Tuesday.

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