Chris Christie has slammed Donald Trump’s assertion that he could have ended Russia’s war with Ukraine in the span of a day – claiming the ex-president could only accomplish such a feat by handing over the country to the Kremlin on a silver platter.
Christening his fellow conservative as ‘Putin’s puppet’, the former New Jersey governor tore into the controversial statement in a post to Twitter following the 70-minute event – which was televised by CNN Wednesday.
Presided over by the station’s 31-year-old rising star Kaitlan Collins, the event was tense from its start, and saw the ex-White House correspondent press the politician on a range of topics at breakneck speed.
Trump, at points, appeared peeved by Collins’ aggressive line of questioning, which covered subjects such as Trump’s recent court loss to E. Jean Carrol and allegations of fraud during the 2020 election – which Trump continued to maintain was ‘stolen’.
That said, perhaps even more controversial was Trump’s brazen claim he could end Russia’s ongoing war against Ukraine in a matter of hours – a clear dig at his successor and his handling of the conflict.
Among those to take issue with the declaration was Christie, who in recent weeks has been increasingly critical of his GOP rival as he mulls a bid for the Oval Office himself.
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Donald Trump defiantly declared he could end Russia’s war against Ukraine in the span of less than a day during his high-profile town hall Tuesday – a statement that was almost immediately met with scrutiny on social media
Chris Christie took to Twitter Wednesday night to slam Donald Trump’s assertion that he could have ended Russia’s war with Ukraine in the span of a day – claiming the ex-president could only accomplish that feat by handing over the country to the Kremlin on a silver platter
‘Donald Trump says he would end the war in Ukraine in 24 hours tonight on CNN,’ the 60-year-old Republican wrote in one of two scathing posts Wednesday night.
‘Despite how ridiculous that is to say, I suspect he would try to do it by turning Ukraine over to Putin and Russia.’
The onetime Trump supporter put a cap on the unofficial statement with a pointed hashtag that accused the 76-year-old politico – who during his presidency was criticized for being too soft on the Russian President – of being ‘#Putin’sPuppet.’
Moments before, Christie – who in March said he would not be backing Trump come 2024 – decried the Manhattan native for refusing to say whether supported the embattled nation when questioned by CNN’s Collins.
‘Donald Trump refused to say tonight that he wanted Ukraine to win the war with Russia,’ Christie sniped, before reiterating his earlier characterization of his potential GOP opponent.
‘More proof that he continues to be Putin’s puppet.’
The comments came less than a day after Christie celebrated Trump’s court loss in the Big Apple during an interview with Fox News, after federal jurors found the ex-head of state liable of sexually abusing Carroll during an alleged encounter in 1996.
Moreover, they were delivered less than two months after Christie told reporters that would make a decision about whether to run for president in 2024 in the ‘next 60 days.’
At the time, the conservative said that a visit to New Hampshire, one of the earliest states in the primary process, would be a factor in his decision – and coincidentally served as the site of Trump’s first public interview since the bombshell ruling.
The hard-hitting questions ranged from Trump’s recent court loss in the Big Apple, to allegations of voter fraud during the 2020 election.
Other touchy subjects included the insurrection on January 6, and Trump’s litany of legal issues.
Eventually, the discussion also turned to the ongoing invasion in Eastern Europe, which Trump claimed would be already over if he was president. When asked about if he wants Ukraine or Russia to win the war, Trump remarked: ‘I want everybody to stop dying. Russians and Ukrainians’ – and was met with uproarious applause.
Christening his fellow conservative as ‘Putin’s puppet’, the former New Jersey governor tore into the controversial statement
Trump defiantly declared he could end Russia’s war against Ukraine in the span of less than a day during his high-profile town hall – but stopped short of saying he supported the embattled nation when questioned by CNN’s Kaitlan Collins
When asked if he wanted Ukraine or Russia to win the war, the president – who during his presidency was criticized for being too soft on Russian President Vladimir Putin – provided a decidedly diplomatic response, along with a characteristic boast
The warm reception from the New Hampshire crowd was not limited to that assertion, with Trump – for the most part – successfully addressing Collins’ line of questioning in a stately manner.
When asked if he wanted Ukraine or Russia to win the war, the president provided a decidedly diplomatic response.
‘I don’t think in terms of winning and losing. I think in terms of getting it settled so we stop killing all these people,’ the 76-year-old Republican explained.
He then used the opportunity to provide a now trademark boast – which served as a simultaneous barb toward his successor Joe Biden.
‘If I’m president, I will have that war settled in one day, 24 hours,’ he said, again to applause.
When directly asked a second time by Collins if he stands by Ukraine, Trump again gave an oblique response that was well-received – asserting he just wants ‘everybody to stop dying.’
‘Russians and Ukrainians, I want them to stop dying,’ he said, before repeating the second half of the sentence with particular emphasis.
‘And I’ll have that done in 24 hours.’
When asked a third time, Trump provided a hint as to his stance on the issue, simply stating: ‘I’ll say this: I want Europe to put up more money.’
He went on to snipe: ‘They have plenty.’
The warm reception from the New Hampshire crowd was not limited to that assertion, with Trump – for the most part – addressing Collins’ line of questioning in a stately manner
When asked a second time by Collins if he is against Putin’s invasion, Trump gave an oblique response – stopping short of decrying the longtime Russian leader
The Kremlin invasion of Ukraine has raged for the past 15 months, with the results of Russian airstrike in Orihiv on Wednesday seen here. Trump said that if he was president, the conflict would be resolved ‘within 24 hours’
It saw Trump joke about his allegations from writer E. Jean Carroll that he raped her in a department store dressing room in the mid-90s, and vow to pardon ‘the majority’ of revelers hit with charges following the Capitol raid on January 6, 2021
The lengthy event was intended to be a public forum, but for the most part served as a sparring match between Trump and Collins, that at times threatened to descend into a complete argument.
It saw Trump joke about his allegations from writer E. Jean Carroll that he raped her in a department store dressing room in the mid-90s, and vow to pardon ‘the majority’ of revelers hit with charges following the Capitol raid on January 6, 2021.
That said, even after Trump slammed the former CNN and Daily Caller White House correspondent a ‘nasty person’ after being pressed as to why he had classified documents in his possession, Collins kept her cool, and the ex-president followed suit.
‘That’s not what the Presidential Record Act says,’ Collins insisted of the documents kept at Trump’s home in Mar-a-Lago, after the former president argued he was allowed to have the documents under the Presidential Records Act.
Trump then claimed both Barack Obama and Joe Biden previously kept and maintained documents – a claim not true in regards to Obama, and only partially true in reference to the current president, who handed his over when he found some in his Chicago home from his time as VP.
‘They didn’t raid the house of Joe Biden, they didn’t raid Obama,’ Trump insisted.
Collins, however, hung tough, and continued to test the aspiring president. She confronted him with how him the his successor didn’t ignore a subpoena on the issue – something Trump did earlier this year.
Collins, who is rumored to be the next CNN anchor to take on Chris Cuomo’s old’ primetime slot, asked why Trump did not turn over the requested material when repeatedly asked by the federal government.
Trump became visibly annoyed by the aggressive line of questioning, leading to an outburst.
‘Can I talk? Are you ready?,’ he said at a tense point in the discussion.
‘I would like for you to answer the question. That’s why I asked it,’ Collins retorted.
Trump then exclaimed: ‘You’re a nasty person, I’ll tell you.’
The statement garnered gasps from those in attendance, but Collins ignored his insult and continued: ‘Can you answer why you held on to the documents?’
The exchange continued for several minutes, and captivated those in the gallery and the thousands watching live across the globe.
‘Do you still have any classified documents?’ Collins asked, again annoying Trump.
‘Are you ready?,’ Trump asked, keeping calm.
‘Do you?’ she pressed.
‘No, no, I have no classified documents,’ he said but added: ‘They become automatically declassified when I took them.’
He also argued he had every right to take them.
‘I had every right to do it, I didn’t make a secret of it. You know, the boxes were stationed outside the White House, people were taking pictures of it,’ he said.
The lengthy event was intended to be a public forum, but for the most part served as a sparring match that at times threatened to descend into a complete argument
Collins, however, kept her cool, and continued to test the aspiring president, confronting him about inconsistencies with his statements and pressing him on a plethora of issues
Joe Biden’s reaction to the CNN town hall: ‘Do you want four more years of that?’
In regards to the war in Ukraine, he praised President Volodymyr Zelensky, saying he ‘backed me up with a phony impeachment, impeachment hoax number one.’
‘I was totally exonerated, by the way,’ Trump was sure to add.
However, Collins, while staying cordial, continued to point out inconsistencies in the Republican’s statement
‘You were impeached over that. You were impeached over that.’
‘I was impeached by a crazy woman named Nancy Pelosi,’ Trump said.
He said he would meet with Zelensky and Vladimir Putin to settle the war.
‘They both have weaknesses and both have strengths and within 24 hours that war with be settled,’ Trump noted.
He wouldn’t say Putin was a war criminal but conceded the Russian president ‘made a tremendous mistake.’
Trump also touted his recent performance in several polls, which has him at the forefront of all Republican candidates.
He also doubled down on his false claim he won the 2020 presidential contest – despite repeated interjections from Collins calling the claims untrue – saying only ‘stupid people’ thought it was a fair election.
‘I think that when you look at that result and when you look at what happened during that election, unless you’re a very stupid person, you see what a lot of the people in this audience and probably maybe a couple that don’t, but most people understand what happened. That was a rigged election,’ Trump said.
He made that claim several times during the event. It was his first public appearance since a federal jury in Manhattan ruled he must pay Carroll $5million for alleged sexual abuse, and later defaming her after the face.
The former president repeated his claim he didn’t know Carroll and then proceeded to insult her repeatedly – accusing her of ‘hanky panky,’ claiming she has a cat called ‘Vagina’ and that she called her husband an ‘ape.’ He slammed U.S. District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan, who was appointed to the job by President Bill Clinton.
‘This woman, I don’t know her. I never met her. I have no idea who she is. I had a picture taken years ago with her and her husband, nice guy John Johnson. He was a newscaster, very nice. She called him an ape, happens to be African American. Called him an ape,’ Trump claimed.
‘The judge wouldn’t allow us to put that in. Her dog or her cat was named Vagina, the judge wouldn’t allow to put that in,’ he added.
‘We had a horrible Clinton appointed judge. He allowed her to put everything in,’ he said.
Trump also said of Carroll: ‘What kind of a woman meet somebody and brings them up and within minutes you’re playing hanky-panky in a dressing room, I don’t know if she was married then or not. John Johnson, I feel sorry for you.’
Following the anticipated interview, several criticized the president for his sensational claims, while others hailed his handling of a difficult public appearance despite his litany of legal issues.
It even spurred a reaction from President Biden, who sniped in a post to Twitter: ‘Do you want four more years of that?’