Presidents Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin attend a summit in Osaka, Japan, in 2019

Donald Trump responds to Vladimir Putin’s comments about Joe Biden days after attacking NATO

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Former President Donald Trump, often accused of cozying up to Russian President Vladimir Putin, said he took it as a ‘compliment’ after the foreign leader claimed his country would prefer President Joe Biden win America’s 2024 presidential election.

“Now that’s a compliment,” Trump told supporters during a campaign rally in North Charleston, South Carolina, ten days ahead of his Palmetto State primary clash with former Gov. Nikki Haley.

Trump said without evidence that Putin would prefer Biden because he’s not as harsh against Russia in the wake of the country’s bloody invasion of Ukraine.

“I got along good with him, but he doesn’t want to have me,” Trump said.

The former president spoke shortly after Putin told Russian state television he would like to see Biden as U.S. president, rather than Trump, Reuters reported.

Asked which American candidate would be “better for us,” Putin responded: “Biden. He is a more experienced, predictable person, a politician of the old school … But we will work with any U.S. president who the American people have confidence in.”

Few foreign policy analysts believe Putin prefers the incumbent president. They cited Trump’s positions that often favor Russia, such as his longtime criticism of the NATO military alliance.

Trump, Russia, Putin and NATO

The North Charleston rally – and Putin’s comments about Biden – came less than a week after Trump riled world opinion by suggesting he would not aid NATO countries if they are attacked by Russia.

During a Saturday rally in Conway, South Carolina, Trump said he once told a foreign leader he would not support NATO members if they did not contribute enough money to the mutual defense pact.

He added that he might “encourage” Russia to “do whatever the hell they want” in that situation.

Read This: Donald Trump ‘encourages’ Russia to attack non-paying Nato allies

Donald Trump

Trump also criticized NATO during his presidency, often with the support of Putin, with whom he had several friendly meetings. Russia also appeared to back Trump with 2016 election interference efforts against Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton.

The former president defended his NATO comments in Wednesday’s speech, saying he would not “protect” NATO countries if they “don’t pay the bills.”

Trump’s latest remarks drew immediate criticism from global leaders, members of Congress and his 2024 campaign opponents. They all said NATO is making major contributions to its defense and that Trump is being irresponsible on the world stage.

Trump sparks widespread backlash with NATO attack

Hours before Trump took the stage in North Charleston, former President Barack Obama seconded Biden in saying Trump’s attitude is reckless and provocative.

While not mentioning Trump’s name, Obama said on X, formerly Twitter, that “the last thing we need right now is a world that is more chaotic and less secure; where dictators feel emboldened and our allies wonder if they can count on us.”

On Wednesday, Biden said that Trump “gave an invitation to Putin to invade” some NATO allies.

“Can you imagine a former President of the United States saying that?  The whole world heard it.  And the worst thing is he means it,” Biden said, adding “No other president in our history has ever bowed down to a Russian dictator.”

Haley, Trump’s former ambassador to the United Nations, has repeatedly knocked his comments about NATO as she campaigns in South Carolina. In a CNN interview this week, she denounced “the idea that he is siding with a man who kills his opponents.”

Haley told CNN on Monday that NATO countries do need to “pay more,” and that “we should always push them to carry their weight. But at the same time, understand NATO is a success story.”

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: NATO: Donald Trump addresses Vladimir Putin comments on Joe Biden


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