Trump Jokes About Starting a War Between Russia and China

This is not Donald Trump pretending his hand is an airplane. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Donald Trump jokingly suggested the U.S. stage a (literal) false-flag operation in order to start a war between Russia and China during a speech to donors at a two-day GOP fundraising summit in New Orleans. Per an audio recording of the speech obtained by the Washington Post, the former president mused that the U.S. should paint the Chinese flag on some F-22 warplanes and then “bomb the shit out” of Russia. “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,” he explained, prompting laughter from the audience.

This deep-thought balloon was one of several comments Trump made during his speech referencing the international crisis that has followed Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. That included claiming, as he and his allies have been doing in the aftermath of the invasion, that Russian president Vladimir Putin would have never invaded Ukraine if he were still in the White House. “I knew Putin very well,” Trump said. “He would not have done it. He would have never done it.”

While Trump did not offer further praise to Putin on Saturday, he did lavish some on North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Trump fondly remembered the totalitarian dictator’s dominance over his staff when the two heads of state spent time together. “Seriously tough, he’s absolutely the leader of that country,” Trump said of Kim, admiring the leader’s “total control” and how his advisers “cowered” in his presence and were always “sitting at attention” when he spoke. “I looked at my people and said I want my people to act like that,” joked Trump.

A week prior at the Conservative Political Action Conference, Trump had briefly mentioned the situation in Ukraine, both condemning the invasion as “appalling” while also once again describing Putin as “smart.” Days later, the former president tried to claim in a statement that he had saved both NATO and Ukraine.

Trump, of course, is one of the world’s most well-known admirers of Putin outside of Russia, and during his presidency tried to withhold U.S. military aid to Ukraine in an attempt to pressure Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy to dig up political dirt about Joe Biden’s family.

On Saturday, the former president also dismissed remarks former vice-president Mike Pence’s had aimed at Trump one day earlier at the same event in New Orleans. “There is no room in this party for apologists for Putin,” Pence had said. Trump responded that anyone who calls him a “Putin apologist” is just revealing they can’t be one of America’s “serious leaders.”

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Trump Jokes About Starting a War Between Russia and China