Donald Trump pointing at Alexey Navalny

Evan El-Amin/Shutterstock jumpingsack/Shutterstock Mitya Aleshkovskiy/Wikipedia (Licensed)

Trump claims he’s getting ‘a form of Navalny,’ compares his trials to imprisonment, death of deceased Russian dissident

But he 'still won’t condemn the Navalny killing or blame Putin.'


Katherine Huggins


Posted on Feb 21, 2024

Former President Donald Trump keeps comparing himself to the late Russian opposition leader Alexi Navalny, who died on Friday while serving a three-decade prison term.

On Tuesday, Trump told a Fox News town hall that the $355 million judgement against him in the New York civil fraud trial is “a form of Navalny” and that the crackdown on political opposition in Russia is “happening in our country too.”

“We are turning into a communist country in many ways,” Trump said. “I got indicted four times, I have eight or nine trials. All because of the fact that I’m in, you know this, all because of the fact that I’m in politics. They indicted me.”

Trump’s remarks followed a Truth Social post on Monday, in which he said that “the sudden death of Alexei Navalny has made me more and more aware of what is happening in our Country.”

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

Notably, neither comment contained a flat out condemnation of Navalny’s death, which many allege came at the hands of Russian President Vladimir Putin, prompting criticism from both sides of the aisle.

Nikki Haley, Trump’s former U.N. ambassador who is now running against him for president, slammed the Truth Social post on X.

“Donald Trump could have condemned Vladimir Putin for being a murderous thug. Trump could have praised Navalny’s courage,” she wrote. “Instead, he stole a page from liberals’ playbook, denouncing America and comparing our country to Russia.”

Haley doubled down in remarks to Fox News on Wednesday, saying: “He’s talking about how he’s a victim and he’s comparing himself to Navalny because he’s in a court case, where Navalny lost his life to Putin because he was, you know, fighting him on corruption. It’s all about him. It’s been the problem with Donald Trump. He is obsessed with himself.”

Rep. Mike Lawler (R-N.Y.) said Trump’s comparison between his legal issues and Navalny’s death was not fair and called for Putin to be held accountable.

“Vladimir Putin is a vile thug and dictator, and he needs to be held accountable for his conduct, for his actions,” Lawler told CNN. “He is not our friend, he is not our ally. And his conduct in Ukraine and in his own country is indefensible.”

Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) called Trump’s statement on Navalny’s death “beneath the dignity of a human being” and wondered what Putin has on Trump “that the disgraced defeated former president always has to be beholden to him, his buddy in vileness.”

Outspoken Trump critic and former Rep. Liz Cheney weighed in as well on Trump’s reaction.

“Donald Trump still won’t condemn the Navalny killing or blame Putin,” she said. “At the same time, Trump is claiming Putin-style tyrannical immunity in his US Supreme Court briefs. Seems like Trump thinks he needs Putin’s help with something and can’t risk angering him.”

According to letters obtained by the New York Times, in the months leading up to his death, Navalny confided to a friend that the prospect of Trump winning a second presidential term was “really scary” but that he would win if President Joe Biden’s health suffers.

“Doesn’t this obvious thing concern the Democrats?” Navalny asked.

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*First Published: Feb 21, 2024, 12:08 pm CST