Former President Donald Trump denounced President Joe Biden’s response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, saying it would not have happened on his watch.
After a couple of months of tensions between the two countries, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered Russian troops to invade Ukraine Thursday, in part under the pretext of defending the declared independence of the eastern Ukrainian provinces of Donetsk and Luhansk.
Speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Saturday night for nearly 90 minutes, Trump expressed his support for the people of Ukraine and denounced Biden’s handling of the conflict.
“The Russian attack on Ukraine is appalling. It’s an outrage and an atrocity that should never have been allowed to occur,” said Trump. “We are praying for the proud people of Ukraine. God bless them all.”
“This horrific disaster would never have happened if our election was not rigged and if I was the president. Very simple, it wouldn’t have happened.”
Despite Trump claiming election fraud, a 136-page report written by the conservative Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty (WILL) shows "no evidence of widespread voter fraud." The WILL hand recounted 20,000 votes from 20 wards with "no evidence of fraudulent ballots," and also reviewed 29,000 ballot certificates in 29 wards.
The report from WILL, which supports many of Trump's policies, concluded, "We do not believe the election was 'stolen.' But it was not adequately secure."
Trump went on to point out that Russia invaded the nation of Georgia under former President George W. Bush and that Russia annexed the Crimean Peninsula under former President Barack Obama.
“Under Biden, Russia invaded Ukraine,” he continued. “I stand as the only president of the 21st century on whose watch Russia did not invade another country.”
“I gave Ukraine the [Javelin antitank missiles] that everyone is now talking about, and millions of dollars of other military equipment. The Obama administration gave them blankets.”
Trump went on to say that when he was president, “the world was a peaceful place because America was strong and the perception of our country was perhaps like it had never been before: powerful, cunning, and smart.”
Trump spoke about warning the North Atlantic Treaty Organization about “the danger of Russia” before the current invasion of Ukraine and contrasted his record on overseas conflict with the claims made against him by political opponents.
“You remember, though, when so many people in the Democrat Party and during the debates said, ‘he’s going to get us into the Third World War,’” continued Trump. “I’m the one that didn’t have any wars. I’m the one that got us out of wars.”
According to a Harvard Center for American Political Studies-Harris Poll released earlier this week, 62% of surveyed Americans believe that Putin would not have invaded Ukraine if Trump was still president.
Trump also talked about a host of issues, including illegal immigration, unsubstantiated claims of 2020 election fraud, the danger of “fake news,” and expressed support for the Canadian truckers convoy.
Trump said that the Biden administration has failed to secure the borders of the United States, claiming that the southern border was the safest it had ever been while he was president.
The CPAC audience was passionate, often cheering Trump as he spoke and booing progressive groups and public figures named by the former president during his lengthy speech.
When talking about his time as president, the crowd chanted, “Four more years!” And when Trump criticized his 2016 election opponent Hillary Clinton, they chanted, “Lock her up!”
He also spoke of the “sleeping giant” of conservative activists, who he believed would help to propel Republicans to victory later this year and in the 2024 presidential election.
“When we win, we will defeat this corrupt political establishment, we will save our Republic, and we will restore constitutional government of, by, and for the people,” added Trump.
“The Washington swamp knows we are coming to break their grip on power forever. That is why they are so desperate to stop us. They will go to any lengths.”
Trump’s remarks came as part of CPAC, the large annual gathering of conservatives that, while normally held in the Washington, D.C. area, took place in Orlando, Florida, this year.
In addition to Trump, prominent speakers at CPAC included: Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas; former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo; former Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii; former leader of UKIP and British MEP Nigel Farage; former head of the Department of Housing and Urban Development Dr. Ben Carson; actor Kevin Sorbo and his wife, Sam; conservative commentator Todd Starnes; and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, among others.
DeSantis, who spoke at CPAC on Thursday, focused on domestic issues, claiming that Democrats want to “marginalize the conservative half of the country” so they will be “powerless” to resist their “ideological aims.”
“The woke is the new religion of the Left, and this is what they have in mind,” DeSantis told those gathered. “That’s why they want CRT [critical race theory] because they want to divide the country. That’s why they remove statues of Thomas Jefferson, and Abraham Lincoln, and Teddy Roosevelt, take George Washington’s name off schools.”
“They want to delegitimize our founding institutions, and they want to replace that with their left-wing ideology as the foundational principles of our modern-day society.”