Donald Trump “admired” Vladimir Putin’s ability to kill anyone he wanted, according to his former White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham.
In an interview with The View on Tuesday, Grisham discussed the former US president’s relationship with the Russian president, saying: “I think [Trump] feared [Putin]. I think he was afraid of him. I think that the man intimidated him. Because Putin is a scary man, just frankly, I think he was afraid of him.”
She went on to add: “I also think he admired him greatly. I think he wanted to be able to kill whoever spoke out against him. So I think it was a lot of that. In my experience with him, he loved the dictators, he loved the people who could kill anyone, including the press.”
Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which has resulted in more than 1,300 civilian casualties, including 474 killed and 861 injured, Trump has highly praised Putin for his actions, calling him a “genius”.
In an interview last month with a conservative radio show, Trump fawned over Putin, saying: “I went in yesterday and there was a television screen, and I said, ‘This is genius.’ Putin declares a big portion of … Ukraine. Putin declares it as independent. Oh that’s wonderful. 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. That’s the strongest peace force. We could use that on our southern border.”
Trump continued, saying: “There were more army tanks than I’ve ever seen. They’re gonna keep peace all right. No, but think of it. Here’s a guy who’s very savvy, I know him very well. Very, very well.”
Trump’s comments were criticized by the two Republicans serving on the House select committee investigating the January 6 Capitol riot, who are among the few Republicans who have been critical of the former president. Liz Cheney tweeted that Trump’s statement “aids our enemies. Trump’s interests don’t seem to align with the interests of the United States of America.”