Trump breaks silence on Navalny, casts no blame on Putin

Trump breaks silence on Navalny, casts no blame on Putin

/ 05:29 PM February 20, 2024

Trump breaks silence on Navalny, casts no blame on Putin

Former U.S. President Donald Trump looks on at a campaign event in Waterford Township, Michigan, U.S., February 17, 2024. REUTERS

WASHINGTON — Donald Trump, who drew criticism as US president for his praise of Russian leader Vladimir Putin, on Monday made his first public comment on the death of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny in a social media post that cast no blame but alluded to his own legal woes.

“The sudden death of Alexei Navalny has made me more and more aware of what is happening in our Country,” the frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination wrote on his Truth Social platform, appearing to link the death to his own political troubles.


“It is a slow, steady progression, with CROOKED, Radical Left Politicians, Prosecutors, and Judges leading us down a path to destruction. Open Borders, Rigged Elections, and Grossly Unfair Courtroom Decisions are DESTROYING AMERICA. WE ARE A NATION IN DECLINE, A FAILING NATION! MAGA2024”


READ: Biden says Putin and ‘his thugs’ responsible for Navalny’s death

It was not clear what similarities Trump was trying to draw with Russia’s most prominent opposition leader. Navalny, 47, fought for years against what he called vast corruption in Putin’s Russia, ruled by “crooks and thieves.”

The Trump campaign did not immediately respond to a request for clarification.

Trump has railed against a judge’s order on Friday that he pay $355 million in penalties for overstating his net worth to dupe lenders, a decision he called politically motivated. Trump also is preparing for four upcoming criminal trials as he pursues the Republican nomination.

President Joe Biden on Friday directly blamed Putin for Navalny’s death in a penal colony north of the Arctic Circle, as did Trump’s main Republican rival, Nikki Haley. “Putin is responsible for Navalny’s death,” Biden said.

The Kremlin has denied involvement in his death and said that Western claims that Putin was responsible were unacceptable.


Since Navalny’s death was reported on Friday, former U.S. presidents and top members of Congress from both parties also denounced Putin.

READ: Putin says he prefers ‘more predictable’ Biden over Trump

But Trump, the Republican candidate leading the race to challenge Biden in the November election, remained silent until Monday.

During his 2017-2021 White House tenure, Trump expressed admiration for Putin. In 2018, he refused to blame the Russian leader for meddling in the 2016 U.S. election, casting doubt on the findings of his own intelligence agencies and sparking criticism at home.

Last week, he suggested the United States might not protect NATO allies who do not spend enough on defense from a potential Russian invasion.

Haley, the former South Carolina governor who will face Trump as an underdog in her home state’s presidential primary on Saturday, called Trump’s response on Monday unpatriotic.

“Donald Trump could have condemned Vladimir Putin for being a murderous thug. Trump could have praised Navalny’s courage,” she wrote on X. Instead, she said, he denounced America and compared it to Russia.

Campaigning in Sumter, South Carolina, later on Monday, Haley criticized Trump again over his NATO comments, saying, “He sided with a dictator who kills his political opponents.”

Republican former U.S. Representative Liz Cheney, a vice chair of the congressional panel that investigated the Jan. 6, 2021, storming of the Capitol by Trump supporters, recalled Trump’s frequent promise to seek “retribution” against political opponents if he regains power.

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“What Vladimir Putin did to Navalny is what retribution looks like in a country where the leader is not subject to the rule of law,” Cheney said on Sunday.

TAGS: Alexei Navalny, Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin

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