Donald Trump has been predictably outspoken about the conflict in Ukraine, and was typically boastful at Saturday’s Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando, Florida. During his speech, he claimed that Russian President Vladimir Putin is “playing Biden like a drum” and insisted that there would be peace in Europe if he was still president, The Guardian reports.
“We are praying for the proud people of Ukraine,” Trump said in his speech which also included his false claims that the 2020 election was stolen. “God bless them all. As everyone understands, this horrific disaster would never have happened if our election was not rigged and if I was the president.”
Trump then claimed to his audience of 5,000 people that “Putin made his decision to ruthlessly attack Ukraine only after watching the pathetic withdrawal from Afghanistan,” and continued to praise the Russian president as being “smart.”
“The problem is not that Putin is smart – which of course, he’s smart – but the real problem is that our leaders are dumb,” Trump said. “They’ve so far allowed him to get away with this travesty and an assault on humanity.”
Later on, Trump reviewed his track record with Russia and relationship with Putin during the 85-minute speech, and explained why he thinks he could have prevented the current “travesty from happening,” before alluding to running for the presidency in 2024 for a “third time.”
“He understood me and he understood that I didn’t play games,” Trump said of Putin. “This would not have happened. Someday, I’ll tell you exactly what we talked about. And he did have an affinity, there’s no question about it, for Ukraine. I said, never let it happen, better not let it happen.”
Despite being banned from most major social media platforms in early 2021 after the deadly events of Jan. 6 at the U.S. Capitol, Trump hasn’t been entirely quiet. He launched his new social media platform Truth Social just last week, and it reportedly includes a timeline layout and options to like and comment on posts, all of which would likely sound familiar for Twitter users.
For a rundown on what’s going on in Ukraine, read Complex’s coverage here.