- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming accused former President Donald Trump of aiding America’s enemies after Mr. Trump described Russian President Vladimir Putin’s strategy in eastern Ukraine as “genius” and “savvy.”

“Former President Trump’s adulation of Putin today — including calling him a ‘genius’ — aids our enemies. Trump’s interests don’t seem to align with the interests of the United States of America,” she tweeted late Tuesday.

Ms. Cheney, a Republican who has bucked her party with frequent criticism of the ex-president, was responding to Mr. Trump’s interview with “The Clay Travis & Buck Sexton Show” in which he seemed impressed by Mr. Putin’s decision to declare parts of eastern Ukraine as sovereign.

“Putin is now saying, ‘It’s independent,’ a large section of Ukraine. I said, ‘How smart is that?’” Mr. Trump said.

“And he’s gonna go in and be a peacekeeper,” Mr. Trump said. “That’s the strongest peace force I’ve ever seen. There were more army tanks than I’ve ever seen. They’re gonna keep peace all right.”

“Here’s a guy who’s very savvy,” said Mr. Trump, who declined to criticize Mr. Putin during his presidency.

At the same time, Mr. Trump said Mr. Putin wouldn’t have tried the move if he were still president.

“Had I been in office, not even thinkable,” Mr. Trump said. “And you know what the response was from Biden? There was no response. They didn’t have one for that. No, it’s very sad.”

Mr. Biden and other Western nations have crafted a battery of sanctions against Russian officials and banks, hoping Moscow will feel real costs from its decision to invade its neighbor.

The House Republican Conference criticized Mr. Biden from its official Twitter account Tuesday, posting a photo of Mr. Biden walking out of a White House room and saying: “This is what weakness on the world stage looks like.”

Rep. Adam Kinzinger, Illinois Republican who is leaving Congress after clashing with his party over its allegiance to Mr. Trump, chastised his fellow members.

“As still ‘technically’ a member of House Republicans, let me, with all my might, condemn this damn awful tweet during this crisis,” he tweeted. “You can criticize policy but this is insane and feeds into Putins narrative. But hey, retweets amirite?”

• Tom Howell Jr. can be reached at thowell@washingtontimes.com.

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