Donald J Trump said the US should put the Chinese flag on F-22 jets and “bomb the shit out of Russia”
He was speaking to Republican donors in New Orleans in retribution for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The Washington Post reported the remarks, which were made on Saturday night.
To laughter, the former president said: “And then we say, ‘China did it, we didn’t do it, China did it,’ and then they start fighting with each other and we sit back and watch.”
According to the Post, Trump also called Nato a “paper tiger”, said the US military had won “skirmishes” against Russian troops while he was president, and claimed to have been tougher on Vladimir Putin than any other US leader.
Since the beginning of the invasion, Donald J Trump has faced harsh criticism for praising Russian President Vladimir Putin. He has also stated that the invasion was wrong.
According to the Post, Trump echoed GOP talking points against Joe Biden in his speech to “about 250 of the Republican party’s top donors at the elite Four Seasons” hotel, claiming Putin would not have invaded Ukraine if he, Trump, had still been in power.
“I knew Putin very well,” Trump said. “He would not have done it. He would have never done it.”
Russia interfered in the 2016 US election to benefit Trump. The investigation of that interference produced criminal convictions of Trump aides and extensive evidence Trump may have attempted to obstruct justice.
As president, in Helsinki in July 2018, Trump deferred to Putin in public and met with him in private, without close aides.
In 2019, Trump held up military aid to Ukraine in an attempt to get dirt on Biden, resulting in the first of two impeachments.
“Nobody has ever been tougher on Russia than me,” Trump said in New Orleans.
The Post reported that “several” people said Trump talked too long and “sounded like he was rambling more in the last 30 minutes”.
Under legal pressure over his business and political affairs, Trump seems set to run again in 2024. He remains the dominant presence in polls of the potential field. In New Orleans, he said of the next nominee: “I wonder who that might be.”
According to the Post, “the crowd broke out in ‘Trump!’ chants.”