Donald Trump Takes Credit for Arming Ukraine—Ignores First Impeachment

Former President Donald Trump took credit for arming Ukraine's military during a rally in South Carolina.

Trump was impeached for the first time in December 2019 for appearing to withhold U.S. military aid for Ukraine unless Kyiv investigated Joe Biden's son, Hunter.

Speaking at the rally in Florence on Saturday evening, Trump hit out at President Biden's handling of Russia's war with Ukraine, telling the crowd: "Remember that with Ukraine, I sent the javelins that you've seen are so effective against the tanks. Biden didn't.

"And, in fact, he ended our last order. Probably it'll get there because everyone realized it was the right thing to do."

Trump also claimed his personality kept the U.S. "out of war" and warned Russian President Vladimir Putin would not stop his invasion of Ukraine.

During his speech in front of his supporters, Trump claimed "nobody was ever tougher on Russia" than him.

The Republican leader then accused both former president Barack Obama and then-Vice President Biden of being weak in their response to the Russian annexation of Crimea.

Trump added: "Remember Obama-Biden, they sent blankets. I sent javelins and they sent—you know what the javelins are?

"They are the anti-tank weapons that knocked the hell out of those tanks and Ukraine wouldn't be having a chance without them.

"That was all sent by me. All of it. We sent other military equipment too. We didn't send our soldiers, but we sent them a lot of equipment."

While the Obama administration resisted sending lethal aid to Ukraine following the annexation of Crimea, it committed an assistance package worth $1.3 billion as of 2016. Part of theat package included funds to strengthen defenses, according to the White House.

This week, the Biden administration paved the way for a fresh shipment of military equipment for Ukraine, estimated to be worth $200 million, Reuters reports.

While former president Trump touted his lethal aid assistance for Ukraine, estimated to be worth hundreds of millions, he failed to mention how the country factored in his first impeachment attempt.

In 2019, Trump was impeached in the House of Representatives over allegations of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

Central to the allegations was that Trump withheld $391 million in military aid to Ukraine in a bid to heap pressure on its government to announce an investigation into Biden, then a Democratic candidate for President.

Trump was alleged to have demanded cooperation from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Biden's son Hunter's time while employed as an adviser for Burisma, an energy company in the country.

A recording of Trump's July 25 phone call with President Volodymyr Zelensky, "There's a lot of talk about Biden's son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great."

Both the impeachment attempt and an unprecedented second effort to remove Trump from office over his attempts to overturn the election result failed.

On Saturday, censured Republican Representative Adam Kinzinger admitted he regretted not impeaching the former president over his Ukraine stance.

In a series of tweets shared on Friday, Kinzinger said: "I want to be honest, in Congress, I have only a few votes that in hinder [hindsight] I regret. My biggest regret was voting against the first impeachment of Donald Trump."

He added: "It's important for political leaders to be transparent and admit regret when needed. The bottom line, Donald Trump withheld lethal aid to Ukraine so he could use it as leverage for his campaign. This is a shameful and illegal act, directly hurting the Ukraine defense today."

Trump also drew ire from South Carolina Republican Representative Tom Rice who said he is "consumed by spite" after the former president attacked him during the rally in Florence.

Rice had been one of the 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump over allegations he incited his supporters to attack the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021.

Newsweek has contacted a Trump representative for comment.

Donald Trump in Florence, South Carolina
Former US President Donald Trump speaks to the crowd during a rally at the Florence Regional Airport on March 12, 2022 in Florence, South Carolina. Trump failed to mention why he faced his first impeachment. Getty