‘Putin is now saying, ‘It’s independent,’ a large section of Ukraine. I said, ‘How smart is that?’ gushed former president Donald Trump
‘I have no words’: State Department reacts to Trump and Pompeo praise of Putin
Asked for his reaction to the accolades for Mr Putin’s cleverness, strength and smartness, Mr Price said he had “no response”.
“In fact, I have no words,” Mr Price said.
Mr Trump called the Russian president a “genius” for declaring a portion of Ukraine independent before ordering a “peacekeeping” force to roll in.
“Oh, that’s wonderful,” Mr Trump said during a podcast interview. “So, Putin is now saying, ‘It’s independent,’ a large section of Ukraine. I said, ‘How smart is that?’ And he’s gonna go in and be a peacekeeper.”
White House press secretary Jen Psaki meanwhile condemned Mr Trump – who has spoken fondly of Mr Putin before – and told reporters: “As a matter of policy, we try not to take advice from anyone who praises president Putin and his military strategy, which I believe is what happened there”.
The former US secretary of state, meanwhile, said he has “enormous respect” for the “savvy” and “shrewd” Russian president.
“I consider him an elegantly sophisticated counterpart, and one who is not reckless but has always done the math,” Mr Pompeo said during an interview with C-Span on 18 February.
“And we might disagree with his priorities, we may disagree with his math, we certainly disagree that the interests that he seeks are reasonable for his country, in many cases, but we should never underestimate that he is doing this in a way where he is exhibiting his capacity to control. “
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