Russian President Vladimir Putin, as well as the leaders of other nations, got a "new sense of power and dignity" when they saw what happened when the United States left Afghanistan, former President Donald Trump told Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel on her "Real America" podcast released Wednesday.
"They see what fools we've made of ourselves in getting out of Afghanistan," Trump said in the wide-ranging interview. "There's never been anything so mishandled, so bungled, so incompetent. And I think that's actually a big reason why the problem you have with Ukraine.
"I think when Putin and when Xi [Jinping] and when Kim Jong Un and when the Iranians are watching that, the Iranian leaders, I think they saw what happened in Afghanistan, and I think that gave them a new sense of power and dignity."
"When you look at Hispanics, African Americans, Asian Americans, we have taken in so many people into the Republican Party that we never would have taken in. Because we made America great again, because of me, because of you, we all worked on it very hard," he said. "We have a much bigger, much more powerful party. We're going to do fantastically well in 2022."
Trump also railed on the "corrupt media" and its claims on him and Russia, when "there was never anybody tougher than I was."
And if Putin was "being honest," Trump said, "he would say that [becasue of] the sanctions I put on, I was the one that ended" the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.
"Nobody ever even heard of it until I came along and complained and then I shut it down and there was never anything so big that happened to Russia," said Trump.
But then President Joe Biden "opened it up almost immediately," said Trump. "I couldn't believe it, and now we are where we are. It's a disgrace. Just a little while ago we were energy independent. We were producing more energy by far than Russia or Saudi Arabia. We were going to be double the size of both in a very short time, probably by within 12 months. We were energy independent for the first time in more than 72 years."
But now, Russia is "making a fortune" with what's going on with oil, said Trump. "We're at $112 a barrel and it's fluctuating. We're funding this war."
Putin, Trump added, took over Georgia and Crimea when former President Barack Obama was in office, but he didn't go after Ukraine when he was in office "because we were very tough on Russia."
"This would never have happened had the election not been rigged," said Trump. "This would have been so easy, and by the way that includes China because China's going to be making a move soon in my opinion on Taiwan … I would say sooner rather than later."
Trump added that Ukraine is still standing because of the weapons his administration sent and added that the violence in Ukraine could result in the loss of millions of lives.
"They're shooting at apartment houses and the buildings are collapsing," he said. "There are a lot of people in those buildings and they don't talk about it you know they say two people were injured. No, no, many people were killed. It's all a lot of nonsense. Buildings are coming down left and right and they're being obliterated. This is a modern-day disaster."
The former president also talked about the upcoming elections and the need for Republicans to "straighten out the country."
"The country's a mess you know when you talk inflation, when you talk about the border, when you talk about the wall, when you talk about all of these things," Trump said. "We had the best numbers on the border. The drug numbers were almost the lowest ever recorded they've been recording them for a long time but we were stopping the drug traffic to a large extent and we've never had a southern border as good."
But now, "America has lost its confidence," said Trump. "It's not respected anywhere in the world. They're laughing at us … the American people are strong but they're suffering … they have lost their confidence in this government."
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