Trump Doesn’t Like Putin ‘At All,’ Ex-Ambassador Says


Former President Donald Trump has no admiration for Russian President Vladimir Putin and only “compliments Putin publicly” to please his base, according to former U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland.

Sondland, who was fired by Trump months after serving as a key witness during his first impeachment, recalled the former president candidly telling him that North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un would stab him “in the stomach if he had the chance” in an interview published by Foreign Policy on Thursday.

The former ambassador suggested that Trump secretly has the same attitude about all authoritarian world leaders, including Putin, despite sometimes offering public praise for international “strongmen.”

Sondland also argued that Trump was “doing a head fake” with regards to his stance on the Russia-Ukraine war and only hinting that he might stop aid to Ukraine to please potential voters who could help him defeat President Joe Biden in November.

Donald Trump Vladimir Putin Doesn't Like Sondland
Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and then-U.S. President Donald Trump are pictured at the G20 summit in Osaka, Japan, on June 28, 2019. Former U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland said in an…


BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP

“[Trump] does not like Putin at all. At all,” said Sondland. “And while he compliments Putin publicly, he does it because it’s a contrarian strategy.”

“He supports Ukraine,” he added. “He totally understands the stakes. I really believe that … But [Trump] is doing a head fake in order to keep his base solidly aligned until he gets through the election.”

Sondland went on to claim that if Trump does manage to return to the White House, he would “surge weapons” deliveries to Ukraine in hopes of forcing Moscow to negotiate an end to the war.

Newsweek reached out for comment to the offices of Trump and Putin via email on Thursday.

While Sondland claims that the ex-president would side with Ukraine over Russia if he returns to the White House, other former Trump administration officials including former National Security Adviser John Bolton and former Defense Secretary Mark Esper have argued that a Trump win would spell disaster for Kyiv.

The former president’s relationship with Putin has been the subject of speculation since shortly after he launched his political career, with Democrats and other Trump critics often accusing him of cozying up to the Russian leader to the detriment of U.S. foreign interests.

Trump has repeatedly said that he has the ability to end the Russia-Ukraine war within “24 hours” using his negotiation skills, a claim that both Russian and Ukrainian officials have dismissed.

Trump suggested in a Truth Social post on Thursday that Putin would release imprisoned Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich if he wins the election in November, writing: “Vladimir Putin, President of Russia, will do that for me, but not for anyone else, and WE WILL BE…



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