Donald Trump Condemns NATO When Asked About Russia's 'Evil' Actions

Donald Trump criticized NATO for failing to prevent atrocities Russia is accused of committing in Ukraine rather than speaking out against President Vladimir Putin.

Trump, whose association with Russia as president was long controversial, has been criticized in recent weeks for not condemning the Russian president amid the war in Ukraine, as well as calling him "genius" and "savvy" for his tactics preparing the invasion in late February.

In an interview with Sean Hannity, the Fox News host asked whether the alleged war crimes being committed by Russia during the conflict, including murdering civilians and targeting schools and hospitals, was "evil in our time."

In response Trump, who earlier told Hannity that what is occurring in Ukraine amounted to a "holocaust," appeared to swerve the question about Russia's "evil" acts and instead attempted to claim responsibility for the continuation of NATO. Russia has denied atrocities.

Trump also did not speak out against Putin, a man he states he "knows well," while once again claiming the invasion would not have taken place if he was still president.

"I think in 100 years people are gonna look back and they're gonna say, how did we stand back and NATO stand back, which in many ways I've called the paper tiger," Trump said.

"Don't forget, I rebuilt NATO because when I became president, the first thing I noticed when I went there to the first meeting, was that most of the countries were not paying, or were paying far less than they were supposed to. There were only eight out of 28 countries that were paid in full."

Despite his claim that he "rebuilt" NATO during his time as president, Trump had threatened to withdraw the U.S. from the military coalition believing it was a financial drain and that other countries weren't meeting the minimum spending requirements of two percent of GDP.

During the interview with Hannity, Trump also downplayed suggestions that he "didn't do much" about Russia by stating that he imposed sanctions to stop the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which would allow the country to increase gas exports to Germany.

Trump added the war "never would have happened" if he was still in the White House while boasting about his relationship with Putin.

"I knew Putin very well, almost as well as I know you Sean, and I will tell you, we talked about it. We talked about it a lot. He did want Ukraine, but I said you're not going into Ukraine.

"He would never ever have gone into Ukraine and President Xi of China would never have even thought about going into Taiwan, not during the Trump administration."

Trump was condemned by the Biden administration recently after he asked Putin to "release" dirt on President Biden's son, Hunter Biden, while Russia was being accused of war crimes.

"What kind of American, let alone an ex-president, thinks that this is the right time to enter into a scheme with Vladimir Putin and brag about his connections to Vladimir Putin? There is only one, and it's Donald Trump," White House Communications Director Kate Bedingfield told reporters on March 30.

Trump has been contacted for comment.

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Donald Trump speaks to members of the press prior to his departure from the White House on September 15, 2020 in Washington, DC. Alex Wong/Getty Images