donald trump on cnn


Trump once again deemed Putin’s ‘puppet’ after Ukraine comments at CNN town hall

It's like 2016 all over again.


David Covucci


Posted on May 11, 2023

Last night, CNN hosted former President Donald Trump for a town hall event, his first major mainstream media appearance as he begins his 2024 campaign.

So much has happened since Trump’s first presidential run back in 2016, the Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol riot, the indictment on fraud charges, the investigation over classified documents—it’s easy to forget the initial concerns and conspiracy over him: That he was secretly working with Russia.

A years-long investigation into Trump, helmed by former FBI Director Robert Mueller, led to some arrests but no definitive proof of conspiracy or collusion. Now, though, after comments at the CNN town hall, people are trying to revive the accusations.

Trump was asked about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and specifically pressed on if he wanted Ukraine to prevail. The former president demurred, only saying he wanted to end the fighting, and that he’d somehow miraculously do that within 24 hours of taking office.

“I want everybody to stop dying. They’re dying. Russians and Ukrainians. I want them to stop dying,” he said.

Trump’s refusal to say he wanted Russia to lose almost instantly started the same kind of panic and recriminations that defined his first run for office.

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who ran against Trump in the 2016 primary, called him Russian President Vladimir Putin’s puppet, echoing an infamous claim Hillary Clinton made in her debate against Trump.

“Donald Trump refused to say tonight that he wanted Ukraine to win the war with Russia. More proof that he continues to be Putin’s puppet,” he wrote.

On Morning Joe, the Atlantic staff writer Tom Nichols said that Putin was dreaming over the prospect of Trump returning to the White House.

“It’s Putin’s dream to have an unhinged, sociopathic ignoramus in the White House,” Nichols said. ” Of course, Putin wants this guy back in, not only because it’d strengthen Putin’s hand in Europe and Ukraine and in Russia, but because it would be disastrous for the United States to have this emotionally disordered, I’ll say it again, this emotionally disordered sociopath returning to the White House.”

Former White House staffer Alyssa Farah Griffin criticized Trump for refusing to call Putin a war criminal, with Trump saying that branding him that way would make it harder for a settlement to happen between the two countries.

Others online had similar comments.

While a number of people are expecting a rematch of 2020—with Trump running against President Joe Biden—given the ongoing war in Ukraine, it just might feel more like a rehash of 2016.

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*First Published: May 11, 2023, 9:33 am CDT