Trump Says Key Focus in Ukraine Should Be to ‘Get That War Settled’

Trump Says Key Focus in Ukraine Should Be to ‘Get That War Settled’
Former President Donald Trump speaks at a CNN Town Hall at St. Anselm College in Manchester, N.H., on May 10, 2023, in a still from video. (CNN/Screenshot via The Epoch Times)
Mimi Nguyen Ly

At a forum held by CNN late Wednesday, former President Donald Trump was asked whether he believed Russian President Vladimir Putin is a war criminal.

“Do you believe [Putin] is a war criminal?” asked CNN moderator Kaitlan Collins. “He’s responsible for the deaths of thousands of Ukrainian men and women—”

“Well I think it’s something that should not be discussed now, it should be discussed later,” said Trump, who is the frontrunner for the Republican nomination in the upcoming 2024 U.S. presidential election.

“If you say he’s a war criminal, it’s going to be a lot tougher to make a deal to make this thing stopped,” he added. “Because he’s going to be a war criminal, people are going to grab him and execute him, he’s going to fight a lot harder than he’s fighting under the other circumstance. That’s something to be discussed at a later day.”

Trump also said that right now, the goal is to “get that war settled.”

“And I’m not talking about the money either,” he said. “I’m talking about all the lives—the number of people that have been killed in that war is far greater than you hear. When they blow up a city, and those buildings come falling down, and they say two people were injured—no, no, hundreds and thousands of people are being killed, and we have to get that war settled.”

The International Criminal Court in March issued an arrest warrant for Putin for the “alleged war crimes of deportation of children from Ukrainian occupied territories into the Russian Federation.”
The Biden administration in February announced it had formally determined that Russian forces have committed war crimes in Ukraine.
Moments earlier in the CNN town hall, Collins asked Trump whether he still respects Putin today.

Putin Made ‘Tremendous Mistake’

“He made a tremendous mistake. He’s a smart guy, I remember I said [in the past] he was smart,” Trump said, but added that with regard to the Russia–Ukraine war that started in February 2022, he thinks Putin “made a bad mistake.”

“What was his mistake?” Collins asked.

“His mistake was going [into Ukraine]. He would have never gone in if I was president,” Trump said, to which the crowd responded with applause.

When Collins asked Trump whether he wants Ukraine to win the war, he responded: “I don’t think in terms of winning and losing.”

“I think in terms of getting it settled so we [can] stop killing all these people,” he said. “Russians and Ukrainians, I want them to stop dying.”

Trump asserted if he were president, he would “have that war settled in one day, 24 hours.” The audience applauded.

When Collins asked how he would do so, Trump said he'd meet with both Putin and Ukrainian President Zelenskyy.

“They both have weaknesses and they both have strengths,” Trump said. “And within 24 hours, that war will be settled; it'll be over.”

The CNN forum marked the first major televised event of the 2024 presidential campaign. It was held at St. Amselm College in New Hampshire. Republicans and undeclared voters attended the event.

It was Trump’s first interview appearance on CNN since before he became president in 2016.

Prior to the event, Trump said CNN offered him “a deal I couldn’t refuse” in a post to Truth Social.

Trump had predicted the event could either be a start of a “new and vibrant CNN, with no more fake news, or it could turn into a disaster for all, including me.”