This post, although fine to read by itself, is a reference point for my complete deconstruction of the GOP narrative (in progress. including this and this.) about Ukraine interference in the 2016 US election.
Listed here are the public statements of candidate Donald Trump that would lead some Ukrainian leaders to disapprove of a Trump presidency. This is how Ukraine came to mistrust Donald Trump. Their opinions weren’t created in a vacuum. They did not conspire with the Clinton campaign, they didn’t even conspire with each other. Individuals voiced their dislike of Donald Trump, in the same fashion people did the world over, including, most vehemently, in the US.
These quotes and references begin from his early candidacy up to the GOP convention when he was the GOP nominee. I have inserted some opinion pieces that Ukrainians may have read to form their opinions. Be aware, as the months went by, a groundswell of disapproval for Trump becomes more and more apparent. With a consensus that Trump would be a dreadful president in general, awful for Ukraine, and excellent for Russia in particular.
Taking these points in totality, it is clear, Donald Trump had little to no interest in Ukraine at best. At worst, he signaled Russia should not be held to account for invading Ukraine, the US should not be in the business of protecting Ukraine, and Russia had a strong, greatly admired leader that never did anything wrong.
July 13, 2015: Maria Butina. Trump would get along great with Putin, and the sanctions resulting from the invasion of Ukraine aren’t necessary.
July 31, 2015: Ukraine is Europe’s problem.
Republican frontrunner Donald Trump said Friday that the U.S. should only step in on Crimea if European countries ask for help and, until then, it remains “Europe’s problem.””Let me explain first of all — this is Europe’s problem much more than ours, OK?” Trump told CNN during a trip to Scotland.
Aug. 16, 2015: Trump doesn’t care if Ukraine joins NATO…or not.
In the same “Meet the Press” interview with Todd, Trump expressed ambivalence about allowing Ukraine into NATO.
“I would not care that much to be honest with you. Whether it goes in or doesn’t go in, I wouldn’t care. If it goes in, great. If it doesn’t go in, great. Look, I would support NATO,” Trump said. “Why isn’t Germany, Chuck, leading this charge? Why is the United States? I mean, we’re like the policemen of the world. And why are we leading the charge in Ukraine?”
Many might agree with Trump’s general point, but it very much matters whether Ukraine is a member of NATO: One of the organization’s founding principles, codified in Article 5 of the treaty, specifies that member countries must take “such action as it deems necessary,” as “an armed attack on one … shall be considered an armed attack on all.” Russia’s 2014 invasion of Crimea and subsequent meddling in eastern Ukraine could have obligated the United States to come to Ukraine’s defense, were the country a NATO member.
Sept. 9, 2015: CLINTON takes opposite views of Russia/Ukraine
Hillary Clinton, the former U.S. secretary of state who is now a leading contender to be the next president, has called for a stronger response to Russia’s actions in Ukraine and Syria, saying Moscow’s objectives were “to stymie, to confront, and to undermine American power whenever and wherever.”
In thinly veiled criticism of President Barack Obama’s administration and its current approach to Russia, Clinton said that Washington should be doing more in response to Russia’s interference in Ukraine.
“I have been, I remain convinced that we need a concerted effort to really up the costs on Russia and in particular on Putin. I think we have not done enough,” she said following a speech on September 9 at the Brookings Institution, a Washington think tank.
“I am in the category of people who wanted us to do more in response to the annexation of Crimea and the continuing destabilization of Ukraine.”
Sept. 20, 2015: Trump would love meeting with Putin.
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump could meet with Vladimir Putin next week — and if it was arranged, Trump says he’d “enjoy doing it.”
“Well, I had heard that he wanted to meet with me,” Trump told NBC News on Saturday. “And certainly I am open to it. I would love to do that if he wants to do that.”
Sept. 30, 2015: Trump says Putin gets an “A” for leadership.
The GOP contender gave the Russian leader a high grade on his skill as a leader, contrasting it to what he considers President Obama’s poor performance.
“I will tell you in terms of leadership he is getting an ‘A,’ and our president is not doing so well,” Trump said. “They did not look good together.”
Oct. 8, 2015: “Russia Today”, the Kremlin’s media arm reports- Russian placed mayor in Yalta, invites Trump to come to the new Russian Crimea, because Trump is an extraordinary person.
“We are following the elections process in your country with great interest,” Yalta Mayor Andrey Rostenko wrote in an open letter to Trump published on the city’s website. “We like your election program and we like you as an extraordinary person.”
The mayor added: “After your victory in the election you plan to establish friendly relations with President Putin – and this is an excellent decision.”
Oct.13, 2015: Trump wonders why the US has to deal with the Ukrainian situation
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump believes European countries like Germany – an “economic behemoth” that is selling the United States “a Mercedes Benz a second” – should lead the pushback against Russian aggression in Ukraine. “I think Ukraine’s a wonderful place. I’ve been there and I think it’s great,” Trump told “Face the Nation” in a recent interview. “But Germany and all these countries should be doing something. Why is it always us? What do we have to do with Ukraine? It’s wonderful. We have NATO, we’re going to work with them.”
Oct. 15, 2015: Trump says he doesn’t believe there’s any proof Russia shot down airliner over Ukraine
Donald Trump doesn’t believe there is enough evidence to blame pro-Russian separatists for last year’s downing of a commercial airliner over Ukraine — despite the fact that the U.S. intelligence community believes “with confidence” that pro-Russian separatists shot it down.”That’s a horrible thing that happened,” he said. “It’s disgusting and disgraceful but Putin and Russia say they didn’t do it, the other side said they did, no one really knows who did it, probably Putin knows who did it. Possibly it was Russia but they are totally denying it.”
Oct, 17, 2015: Kremlin states preference for Trump presidency
Kremlin mouthpiece Konstantin Rykov said Wednesday in a Twitter post that Trump won the first Democratic presidential debate, held Tuesday in Las Vegas. In that tweet, Rykov linked to a Russian language, pro-Trump website with a Russian domain, www.Trump2016.ru, that he is likely behind. Until a few weeks ago, Rykov’s Twitter home page featured Trump and his 2016 campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again.”
November 11, 2015: GOP candidate debate. Question to Trump: Russia has invaded Ukraine, what will you do when you’re president. Answer: avoid answering, Yay for Russia!
Q: Now, Russia has invaded Ukraine, and has put troops in Syria. You have said you will have a good relationship with Mr. Putin. So, what does President Trump do in response to Russia’s aggression?
Well, first of all, it’s not only Russia. We have problems with North Korea where they actually have nuclear weapons. You know, nobody talks about it, we talk about Iran, and that’s one of the worst deals ever made…. yada yada yada. Word salad…
But, as far as the Ukraine is concerned, and you could Syria — as far as Syria, I like — if Putin wants to go in, and I got to know him very well because we were both on 60 Minutes, we were stablemates, and we did very well that night.
But, you know that.
But, if Putin wants to go and knocked the hell out of ISIS, I am all for it, 100%, and I can’t understand how anybody would be against it…
Read this part of his word-salad answer, he turns concern for the airliner downed over Ukraine by Russia, into a Russian plane shot down by Ukraine-
…They blew up a Russian airplane. He cannot be in love with these people. He’s going in, and we can go in, and everybody should go in. As far as the Ukraine is concerned, we have a group of people, and a group of countries, including Germany — tremendous economic behemoth — why are we always doing the work?
We are — I’m all for protecting Ukraine and working — but, we have countries that are surrounding the Ukraine that aren’t doing anything. They say, “Keep going, keep going, you dummies, keep going. Protect us…”
Dec.18, 2015: “The Federalist” reports (When the Federalist used to admit what Trump is) that Putin has in effect, endorsed Trump.
Vladimir Putin just weighed in on the U.S. election and basically endorsed Trump, calling him “a really brilliant and talented person, without any doubt.” But what is really disturbing is that Trump endorsed Putin right back: “It is always a great honor to be so nicely complimented by a man so highly respected within his own country and beyond.” And Trump went way beyond endorsing Putin. He continued: “I have always felt that Russia and the United States should be able to work well with each other towards defeating terrorism and restoring world peace, not to mention trade and all of the other benefits derived from mutual respect.”
Dec. 18, 2015: MSNBC, Trump’s response to the fact that Putin invaded Ukraine and kills journalists- “He’s running his country and at least he’s a leader, unlike what we have in this country.”
Dec. 22, 2015: “National Review” report of Trump-Putin bromance, and Trump’s statement- no proof Putin had any journalists killed.
When it comes to Russian politics, Donald Trump is a useful idiot.
There is powerful evidence that Vladimir Putin is guilty of the murder of journalists, but it is impossible to “prove” his guilt because there is no police force in Russia that will investigate him and no court where he can be held to account.
Under these circumstances, Donald Trump’s statement (to critics who took exception to the mutual praise between the two men) that there is no proof that Putin is guilty of murder is an absurdity. Proof presumes the existence of a state based on law.
Jan. 26, 2016: Trump defends Putin yet again, against charges he had someone assassinated, former KGB agent this time.
“Have they found him guilty? I don’t think they’ve found him guilty,” Trump said in a Tuesday interview with Fox Business Network anchor Maria Bartiromo. “They say a lot of things about me that are untrue, too.
“If he did it, fine. But I don’t know that he did it,” Trump said. “You know, people are saying they think it was him, it might have been him, it could have been him. But Maria, in all fairness to Putin — and I’m not saying this because he says, ‘Trump is brilliant and leading everybody’ — the fact is that he hasn’t been convicted of anything.”
“Some people say he absolutely didn’t do it,” Trump added. “First of all, he says he didn’t do it. But many people say it wasn’t him. So who knows who did it?”
Feb 12, 2016: The European Council on Foreign Relations report on what a Trump presidency would mean. Entire document is prophetic and 100% accurate.
March 21,2016: Trump says, the US spends too much money on NATO, and Ukraine is more of a EU issue than a US issue.
March 24, 2016: “Russia Today” tags bizarre US conspiracies against Trump, while promoting him for President.
Although it is a delicious sight watching America’s movers and shakers tremble at the mere mention of Trump’s name, it nevertheless speaks volumes about the condition of US democracy that Americans had to wait for a rich, charismatic real estate developer to come along and save them from the cold-hearted wretchedness of the dual-party, borderline-fascist system.
March 27, 2016: Trump says, NATO is obsolete, terrorism is the real problem, not Russia.
In an interview on ABC’s “This Week,” Donald Trump says that the Cold War-era alliance headquartered in Brussels has been revealed as “obsolete” following devastating terrorist attacks in that city this week.
“NATO doesn’t discuss terrorism,” Trump said. “NATO’s not meant for terrorism. NATO doesn’t have the right countries in it for terrorism. NATO was done at a time you had the Soviet Union, which was obviously larger — much larger than Russia is today. I’m not saying Russia is not a threat,” Trump explained. “But we have other threats. We have the threat of terrorism.”
April 6,2016: Europe to US, Ignore Trump, we need NATO
The idea that Europe is free-loading “is a mis-categorization,” Stavridis, who is now dean of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, said. He said Trump’s comments were “nonsensical,” and Obama’s criticism comes from a position of knowledge.
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Trump’s views are akin to “turning our alliance into a protection racket, [and] would reverse decades of bipartisan American leadership.”
April 16, 2016: Why Everyone Should Fear Trump’s Foreign Policy
Trump focuses on the economic costs of the U.S.’s role as the world’s only remaining superpower, with little regard to the benefits of the country’s willingness to assume international leadership (not to be confused with being the world’s policeman), or the potential costs of the U.S. retreating from that role. This narrow-minded economic perspective is particularly evident in his recent statements on NATO. He questions whether NATO serves a useful purpose in a post-Cold War world and suggests that the U.S. is spending too much money stationing American troops in Europe while propping up European countries, who should bear a greater share of the military costs of their own defense.
While the U.S. should pressure the Europeans to spend more for their own defense, to question the utility of NATO when Russian imperialism is on the rise and Vladimir Putin has taken over the Crimea, effectively seized other parts of Ukraine, and established a military base in Syria, demonstrates a stunning lack of political awareness.
April 19, 2016: New York Book Review- With the insertion of Carter Page as foreign policy advisor, a Trump presidency’s EU interests will be guided with Russia in mind.
More extraordinary still, Trump has indicated, in his selection last month of Carter Page as a foreign policy adviser, that American policy to Europe will be guided by Russian interests. Page, heretofore known as an adviser to Russia’s state gas company, has been among the prominent Americans spreading Russian propaganda about Ukraine’s revolution in 2014 and the Russian invasion that followed. In his writings he has questioned Ukraine’s status as an independent state, which is precisely the line that Moscow took to justify its invasion. He maintains—preposterously—that Ukraine is like Quebec inside a Russia that is like Canada. Quebec is a province and Ukraine is a country. He has referred to Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula, a signal violation of international law, as the “so-called annexation.”
Finally, and most importantly:
July 21, 2016: GOP nominee Trump removes the inclusion of US providing “lethal defense weapons” to Ukraine from the GOP platform.