Fox News’s Sean Hannity asked Donald Trump if Russia’s actions in Ukraine were “evil.”
Trump replied by criticizing NATO, which he described as a “paper tiger.”
The former president has long expressed admiration for Vladimir Putin and avoided direct criticisms of him.
Former President Donald Trump criticized NATO when asked about Russia’s “evil” actions in Ukraine.
In an interview with the former president on Wednesday, Fox News host Sean Hannity asked him about “war crimes and atrocities” being committed by Russia “from Bucha to Mariupol.”
“We have mass graves. We have innocent civilians being slaughtered in the streets. We have entire neighborhoods leveled,” Hannity said. “Do you believe this is evil in our time?”
Trump avoided directly answering the question and instead criticized NATO.
“I think in 100 years, people are going to look back, and they’re going to say how did we stand back, and NATO stand back, which in many ways I’ve called a paper tiger,” Trump said.
The former president claimed he “rebuilt NATO” and criticized member states at length for not spending as much as the US.
During his time in office, Trump repeatedly threatened to withdraw from the alliance and pressured other member states to increase defense spending.
In the interview with Fox, Trump also repeated his claim that Russian President Vladimir Putin would not have invaded Ukraine if he was still president.
“When I look at what’s happening, it never would have happened under the Trump administration,” Trump said.
“I knew Putin very well, almost as well as I know you, Sean,” Trump told his long-time friend Hannity.
“I will tell you. We talked about it. We talked about it a lot. He did want Ukraine, but I said you’re not going into Ukraine.”
In the interview, Trump did refer to Russia’s actions in Ukraine as “genocide,” echoing language used by President Joe Biden.
However, he stopped short of directly criticizing Putin or characterizing Russia’s actions as evil.
It is not the first time Hannity has directly asked the former president to describe Putin and Russia’s actions as “evil.”
In a March 10 interview, just weeks after the invasion of Ukraine, Hannity asked Trump: “I think you also recognize that [Putin] is evil, do you not?”
Trump again avoided answering, replying: “This doesn’t seem to be the same Putin that I was dealing with.”
The former president has long expressed admiration for Putin, often describing the Russian president as “smart” and praising his war strategy as “genius” in the early days of the invasion.
He has regularly criticized NATO and US allies while boasting about his good relationships with authoritarian leaders such as Putin.
On Thursday, MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell commented that Trump appears to not have the “moral clarity” of Sean Hannity, in rare praise of the Fox News host.
“Donald Trump said nothing. He said a couple of hundred words that included NATO, Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen, NATO becoming rich, he said something really insulting about Chuck Todd—but he did not dare to say one insulting word about Vladimir Putin,” O’Donnell said.
Read the original article on Business Insider
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