Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) lambasted Donald Trump’s praise of the Russian invasion of Ukraine last week, saying history was watching despite the former president’s repeated comments about Vladimir Putin being a “genius” who had been “smart” about the ruthless assault.
“How can anyone with any understanding of the world call Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine ‘genius’ and ‘very savvy’ as we watch him unite the rest of the world against Russia in nearly an instant?” Christie asked Monday on Twitter. He went on to say that Putin has two choices now: an “unwinnable occupation of Ukraine” or a “humiliating retreat.”
“Yeah, that’s ‘genius’ and ‘very savvy’ alright,” Christie wrote.
His comments, a direct attack on Trump, came after the former president dubbed Putin’s initial description of his invading Russian forces as peacekeepers a “genius” move. Meanwhile, most of rest of the world was condemning the Kremlin’s actions.
“So, Putin is now saying, ‘It’s independent.’ A large section of Ukraine. I said, ‘How smart is that?’ And he’s going to go in and be a peacekeeper. That’s the strongest peace force,” Trump said on a right-wing radio program. “We could use that on our southern border.”
“That’s the strongest peace force I’ve ever seen. There were more army tanks than I’ve ever seen,” Trump added on the radio show. “They’re going to keep peace all right. No, but think of it. Here’s a guy who’s very savvy.”
Trump defended those remarks at the Conservative Political Action Conference this weekend, saying that, although the attack was “appalling,” Putin was “smart” and the “real problem is that our leaders are dumb.”
“So sad,” Trump said Saturday at CPAC. “Putin is playing Biden like a drum, and it’s not a pretty thing, as somebody that loves our country, to watch.”
His statements about an invading world leader are remarkable even for Trump, who was known for his fondness of Putin during his four years in the White House, going so far as to ask Russia to hack his 2016 Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, to gain access to her emails.