Trump: US should put Chinese flags on F-22 jets and ‘bomb shit out of’ Russia

Trump tells Republican donors Putin would not have invaded Ukraine had he been president and calls Nato a ‘paper tiger’

In a speech to Republican donors in New Orleans, Donald Trump said the US should put the Chinese flag on F-22 jets and “bomb the shit out of Russia” in retribution for its invasion of Ukraine.

The Washington Post reported the remarks, which were made on Saturday night.

To laughter, the paper said, the former president said: “And then we say, ‘China did it, we didn’t do it, China did it,’ and then they start fighting with each other and we sit back and watch.”

According to the Post, Trump also called Nato a “paper tiger”, said the US military had won “skirmishes” against Russian troops while he was president, and claimed to have been tougher on Vladimir Putin than any other US leader.

Trump has faced severe criticism for praising the Russian leader since the invasion began. He has also said the invasion was wrong.

In his speech to “about 250 of the Republican party’s top donors at the elite Four Seasons” hotel, the Post said, Trump echoed GOP talking points against Joe Biden, claiming Putin would not have invaded Ukraine if he, Trump, had still been in power.

“I knew Putin very well,” Trump said. “He would not have done it. He would have never done it.”

Russia interfered in the 2016 US election to benefit Trump. The investigation of that interference produced criminal convictions of Trump aides and extensive evidence Trump may have attempted to obstruct justice.

As president, in Helsinki in July 2018, Trump deferred to Putin in public and met with him in private, without close aides.

In 2019, Trump held up military aid to Ukraine in an attempt to get dirt on Biden, resulting in the first of two impeachments.

“Nobody has ever been tougher on Russia than me,” Trump said in New Orleans.

The Post reported that Trump also praised Kim Jong-un, the North Korean dictator, for having “total control” of his country.

Much of the rest of the speech, the paper said, was devoted to Trump’s lie that his defeat by Biden was caused by electoral fraud.

Trump attacked two Republicans who have rejected the lie: the Senate minority leader, Mitch McConnell, whom Trump called “stupid, corrupt”, and his own former vice-president, Mike Pence, who presided over certification of the electoral results after the deadly riot at the US Capitol on 6 January 2021.

The Post reported that “several” people said Trump talked too long and “sounded like he was rambling more in the last 30 minutes”.

Under legal pressure over his business and political affairs, Trump seems set to run again in 2024. He remains the dominant presence in polls of the possible field. In New Orleans, he said of the next nominee: “I wonder who that might be.”

According to the Post, “the crowd broke out in ‘Trump!’ chants.”


Martin Pengelly in New York

The GuardianTramp

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