Trump: US ‘saying exactly the wrong thing’ to Russia

Former President Trump on Sunday said the U.S. is “saying exactly the wrong thing” to Russia after President Biden this week raised the “prospect of Armageddon” amid Russian President Vladimir Putin’s threats of nuclear war.

Trump said the U.S. should be urging Russia and Ukraine to negotiate for peace, and warned the conflict could be heading toward “World War III” without a more careful approach. 

“We have to be very smart and very nimble. We have to know what to say, what to do. And we are saying exactly the wrong thing. We’ll end up in a World War III,” Trump said at a rally in Mesa, Arizona, to stump for gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake and senate candidate Blake Masters. 

Biden warned on Thursday that Putin is “not joking” in his recent threats to use nuclear weapons as Moscow’s forces struggle in the fight against Ukraine.

“We have not faced the prospect of Armageddon since Kennedy and the Cuban Missile Crisis,” Biden said at a fundraiser, citing the 1962 standoff with the Soviet Union.

Trump said Sunday the stakes of a world war were higher than even given modern weaponry.

“We must demand immediate negotiation of a peaceful end to the war in Ukraine, or we will end up in World War III and there will never be a war like this,” he said at the rally. “We will never have had a war like this and that’s all because of stupid people that don’t have a clue. And it’s also because of the kind of weaponry that’s available today.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky ruled out peace talks earlier this week after Russia declared the annexation of four occupied territories in Ukraine.

Many security experts and former military officials agree with Biden’s assessment that Putin’s nuclear threats should be taken seriously, however his comments stirred debate over whether the White House should be issuing such dire warnings.

U.S. officials have said there are no signs that Russia is preparing for an imminent nuclear attacks, and say America’s military has not changed its nuclear posture.

White House national security spokesman John Kirby said Sunday that the president was “accurately reflecting the fact that the stakes are very high right now.”

Trump’s former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Sunday said the reference was “reckless.”

“When you hear the president talking about ‘Armageddon’ as a random thought … at a fundraiser, that is a terrible risk for the American people,” said Pompeo. “He ought to be talking to us in a serious way.”

U.S. officials have warned of a “decisive” response and “catastrophic consequences” for Russia if Moscow moves to use nuclear weapons.  

Trump’s call for peace echo sentiments tweeted by billionaire Elon Musk this week. The Space X founder suggested that Ukraine cede some Russian-occupied territory, agree to elections in others and agree to never join NATO in exchange for an end to Russian aggression.

Ukrainian leaders quickly dismissed the suggestion, and have said they will not cede an inch of territory to Russia.

Biden has said his administration will seek to strengthen Kyiv’s hand at the negotiating table by providing weapons to its military, but has largely refrained from pressuring Ukraine to engage in peace talks.

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