Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, former President Trump’s opponent in the 2016 election, said on Thursday that she thinks Russian President Vladimir Putin was waiting for Trump to pull the U.S. out of NATO if reelected, leaving Ukraine defenseless against a Russian invasion.
“He got his dreams fulfilled when Trump was elected,” Clinton said at a symposium at Georgetown University honoring the diplomatic legacy of the late Madeleine Albright. “And I believe that if Trump had been reelected, Putin would have waited for Trump to do what he said he was intending to do, which was to pull us out of NATO.
“And that would have created such a vacuum that invading Ukraine, which he thought was going to be easy anyway, would be a fait accompli.”
Clinton said Putin didn’t want to face Clinton as president so he meddled in the 2016 presidential election.
“He, you know, decided that he didn’t want to face me as president,” she said. “So he did all the things we now know he did that are well cataloged.”
Looking back, former President Bill Clinton said he has no regrets about supporting the expansion of NATO during his time in office, despite the move angering Russia.
“I thought it was amazing when later some people said, ‘Well, this just shows you what a mistake it was because it hurt Russia’s feelings,'” he said. “And I thought, ‘Well, would you rather instead of Ukraine, that Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic were worried about Russian expansionism?'”
Putin ultimately invaded Ukraine in February of 2022, more than a year after President Biden took office.
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