Donald Trump says Putin’s assault on Ukraine will embolden China to take Taiwan

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As the West fears further military aggression from Russia in Ukraine, former President Donald Trump warned that “China’s going to be next,” claiming the Asian superpower will attack Taiwan due to President Biden’s leadership.

Trump made the prediction about the Chinese invasion on Tuesday as he was pressed on the ongoing tensions between Russia and Ukraine.

“I got to know [Chinese] President Xi. By the way, China is gonna be next,” Trump said in an interview with “The Clay Travis and Buck Sexton Show” at Mar-a-Lago.

“You think they’re gonna go after Taiwan?” host Clay Travis responded.

“Oh, absolutely,” Trump said. “Not with me, they wouldn’t have.”

“But you think with Biden, they’ll try him?” Travis clarified. 

“Oh, yeah. They’re waiting ’til after the Olympics. Now the Olympics ended, and look at your stopwatch, right?” Trump said. 

China has long asserted claim over Taiwan, considering it a breakaway province.

Former President Donald Trump (left) shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping during a meeting on the sidelines of the G-20 on June 29, 2019.
President Donald Trump (left) shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping during a meeting on the sidelines of the G-20 on June 29, 2019.
AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File
President of China Xi Jinping has long asserted claim over Taiwan, considering it a breakaway province.
China President Xi Jinping has long asserted claim over Taiwan, considering it a breakaway province.
AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

Trump’s prediction comes one day after Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered “peacekeeping” troops into rebel-held areas of eastern Ukraine.

“This would never have happened if we were there,” Trump said.

He pointed to media coverage of the ongoing Eastern European crisis, emphasizing that even left-leaning news outlets have questioned why Russia didn’t invade during the Trump administration. 

President Donald Trump and Russia's President Vladimir Putin shake hands as they meet in Finland on July 16, 2018.
President Donald Trump and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin shake hands as they meet in Finland on July 16, 2018.
REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque/File Photo

“Chuck Todd asked that question. How come there was none of this happening during the Trump administration? I knew Putin very well,” he said.

“I got along with him great. He liked me. I liked him. I mean, you know, he’s a tough cookie, got a lot of the great charm and a lot of pride. But the way he — and he loves his country, you know? He loves his country. He’s acting a little differently I think now.”

Trump said Putin had previously discussed the possibility of invading Ukraine.

President Biden has threatened to impose tougher sanctions on Russia if the invasion continues.
President Biden has threatened to impose tougher sanctions on Russia if the invasion continues.
EPA/Chris Kleponis / POOL

“I think he sees this opportunity. I knew that he always wanted Ukraine,” Trump said. “I used to talk to him about it. I said, ‘You can’t do it. You’re not gonna do it.’ But I could see that he wanted it. I used to ask him. We used to talk about it at length. I think nobody probably knows him better in terms of the discussions that we have or that we’re having this morning.”

During the interview, Trump appeared to praise Putin’s decision to move forces into Ukraine, calling it “genius,” “smart” and “savvy.” 

“I went in yesterday and there was a television screen, and I said, ‘This is genius.’ Putin declares a big portion of the Ukraine — of Ukraine. Putin declares it as independent. Oh, that’s wonderful,” Trump said. 

Russian President Vladimir Putin has remained defiant in saying that he was will not officially invade Ukraine.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has remained defiant in saying he will not officially invade Ukraine.
KREMLIN.RU

“So, Putin is now saying, ‘It’s independent,’ a large section of Ukraine. I said, ‘How smart is that?’ And he’s gonna go in and be a peacekeeper. That’s strongest peace force … We could use that on our southern border. 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. No, but think of it. Here’s a guy who’s very savvy … I know him very well. Very, very well.”

“By the way, this never would have happened with us. Had I been in office, not even thinkable,” Trump emphasized again. 

“This would never have happened. But here’s a guy that says, you know, ‘I’m gonna declare a big portion of Ukraine independent,’ he used the word ‘independent,’ ‘and we’re gonna go out and we’re gonna go in and we’re gonna help keep peace.’ You gotta say that’s pretty savvy. 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. Very sad.”

A Republic of China  Air Force F-16 fighter aircraft (left) flying alongside a Chinese People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) H-6K bomber that reportedly flew over the Bashi Channel.
A Republic of China air force F-16 fighter aircraft (left) flying alongside a Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force H-6K bomber that reportedly flew over the Bashi Channel.
HANDOUT/TAIWAN DEFENCE MINISTRY/AFP via Getty Images

Trump’s comments came just one day after the Russian president recognized the self-declared Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) and Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR) as independent states and dispatched “peacekeeping” forces to the area.

The regions are largely run by pro-Russian separatists. Many fear the deployment will set the stage for a large-scale invasion of Ukraine. 

In response to Putin’s actions, many in the West began to impose sanctions against Russia, including Germany halting the certification for the Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline. 

Chinese military personnel stand near a Chinese military's J-10C airplane on September 28, 2021.
Chinese military personnel stand near a Chinese military J-10C airplane on September 28, 2021.
AP Photo/Ng Han Guan

Tuesday afternoon, Biden announced economic sanctions against Moscow that will target two Kremlin-backed banks and restrict Russia’s government from trading its debt on Western finance markets.

He also teased additional sanctions against Russian oligarchs and their families.

“Starting tomorrow, and continuing in the days ahead, we will also impose sanctions on Russia’s elites and their family members,” Biden said. “They share in the corrupt gains of the Kremlin policies and should share in the pain as well.”

A CM-11 Tank fires cannons during a live ammunition military drill at an undisclosed location, amid rising tensions with China. Taiwan.
A CM-11 tank fires during a live ammunition military drill at an undisclosed location, amid rising tensions with China.
Daniel Ceng Shou-Yi/ZUMA Press Wire

When later pressed on Trump’s claims, the White House brushed off his comments.

“Well, as a matter of policy, we try not to take advice from anyone who praises President Putin and his military strategy, which I believe is what happened there; expresses an openness to lifting sanctions about the seizing of territory in Crimea; or, at any point in time, told leaders of the G7 that Crimea is a part of Russia, regardless if they are a former president,” press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters during Tuesday’s daily press briefing. 

“So, there’s a bit of a different tactic, a bit of a different approach. And that’s probably why President Biden, and not his predecessor, was able to rally the world and the global community in taking steps against — against Russia’s aggression.”

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