Trump breaks silence on Navalny’s death, but does not condemn Putin


Days after the death of Russian opposition leader Aleksei A. Navalny was first reported, Donald J. Trump broke his silence Monday in a social media post that barely mentioned Navalny and did not condemn the president. Vladimir V. Putin of Russia. Instead, he used Navalny’s death to suggest that his own legal battles amounted to political persecution.

It was a note he first struck on Sunday, when he shared screenshots of an opinion essay that compared his relationship with President Biden to that between Navalny and Putin.

“The sudden death of Alexei Navalny has made me increasingly aware of what is happening in our country,” the former president wrote on Truth Social on Monday, using an alternative spelling of Navalny’s first name. He pointed out what he called “corrupt and radical left politicians, prosecutors and judges who are leading us down the path of destruction.”

But the meandering social media post contained no reference to Putin, who has drawn widespread condemnation from politicians in the United States and abroad amid speculation that he or the Russian government had something to do with Navalny’s death. . Instead, Trump cited “open borders, rigged elections, and blatantly unjust court decisions” in portraying the United States, in capital letters, as a “decaying nation, a failed nation.”

Trump, who has been charged in four criminal cases and faces 91 felony counts, was ordered Friday to pay about $450 million after a New York judge found in his civil fraud case that he had conspired. to manipulate his net worth. He has repeatedly tried to blame Biden for his legal problems, even though Biden has no jurisdiction over the cases.

Nikki Haley, Trump’s rival in the Republican presidential primary and his former ambassador to the United Nations, attacked him for his response.

“Donald Trump could have condemned Vladimir Putin for being a murderous thug,” he wrote on Monday in the social media platform. “Trump could have praised Navalny’s courage. Instead, he stole a page from the liberals’ playbook, denouncing the United States and comparing our country to Russia.”

Haley, the former governor of South Carolina, has used Navalny’s death as a means to criticize Trump’s previous comments praising Putin. She has called Navalny a “hero,” echoed claims that Putin had something to do with his death and said Trump needed to “respond to that.”

The former president has a long history of praising Putin, calling him “pretty smart” even as Russia prepared to invade Ukraine. And at times he has favored the country over America’s traditional allies, something Haley has sought to highlight. Shortly before Navalny’s death, Trump told voters in South Carolina that he would “encourage” Russia to attack NATO allies that did not pay what they owed to the security alliance.

Navalny, one of Putin’s staunchest critics, was confirmed dead by his political allies on Saturday, after Russian officials said on Friday that he had died in a prison inside the Arctic Circle. Biden, addressing the news on Friday, said that while U.S. officials did not know the details surrounding Navalny’s death, he had “no doubt” that “it was a consequence of something that Putin and his thugs did.” ”.

Until Monday, Trump had not explicitly commented on Navalny’s death, instead publishing posts depicting the world as more dangerous under Biden.

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