Former President Donald Trump championed his administration’s approach to Russia before naming one leader as the inspiration behind his stance: Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“They say ‘Trump wasn’t tough on Russia,’ I was so tough on Russia. Putin said ’If you’re not tough now, I’d hate like hell to see you if you weren’t tough,” Trump said at a rally in Houston, Texas on Thursday.
Trump’s remarks arrived as he spoke of his administration’s response to the Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline, a means of increasing export of natural gas from Russia to Germany in a project that he claimed to have “ended.”
The former president has made the false claim before about the pipeline at the 2022 Conservative Political Action Conference, according to FactCheck.organd “misleadingly” added that President Joe Biden “approved it.”
PolitiFact.com noted that Trump, who saw most of the project built on his watch, sanctioned Russia “although his friendliness to Putin sent contrary signals” while Biden kept sanctions going “but he has also sought flexibility as part of diplomatic negotiations.”
Social media users on X (formerly Twitter) mocked Trump, who has notably praised Putin over the years, over the remark and jokingly asked if the Russian leader whispered his calls to be tough in Trump’s ear.
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