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In post about Navalny, Trump talks of his own legal woes

Former president makes no mention of Russia’s Putin

By Associated Press
Published: February 19, 2024, 5:41pm
2 Photos
Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally in Waterford Township, Mich., on Saturday.
Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally in Waterford Township, Mich., on Saturday. (Paul Sancya/Associated Press) Photo Gallery

NEW YORK — More than 72 hours after Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s death in an Arctic penal colony, former President Donald Trump mentioned him by name for the first time in a post on his social media site that focused not on Navalny, but his own legal woes.

President Joe Biden and other Western leaders have blamed Russian President Vladimir Putin for the 47-year-old’s death, responding with anger and demands for answers.

But Trump made no mention of Putin or Navalny’s family in the post Monday morning that instead cast himself as a victim and continued to paint the U.S. as a nation in decline.

“The sudden death of Alexei Navalny has made me more and more aware of what is happening in our Country,” he wrote. “It is a slow, steady progression, with CROOKED, Radical Left Politicians, Prosecutors, and Judges leading us down a path to destruction. Open Borders, Rigged Elections, and Grossly Unfair Courtroom Decisions are DESTROYING AMERICA. WE ARE A NATION IN DECLINE, A FAILING NATION! MAGA2024.”

A New York judge on Friday ordered Trump to pay $355 million in penalties in a civil fraud trial, finding the former president had inflated his wealth for years, scheming to dupe banks, insurers and others. Trump has also been criminally charged in four separate investigations, the first of which is scheduled to go to trial next month.

Trump’s post drew immediate denunciation from his rivals, including Nikki Haley, his last remaining challenger in the Republican nominating contest, who has been stepping up her criticism of the former president heading into Saturday’s South Carolina primary.

“Donald Trump could have condemned Vladimir Putin for being a murderous thug,” she wrote. “Trump could have praised Navalny’s courage.” Instead, “he stole a page from liberals’ playbook, denouncing America and comparing our country to Russia.”

Biden’s campaign posted on X that after days of silence, Trump finally responded by comparing Navalny to himself in a “deranged social media post.”

Trump has been criticized for nearly a decade for his refusal to denounce the Russian leader and his frequent complimentary statements.

As president, Trump drew outrage when he openly questioned his own intelligence agencies’ finding that Russia meddled in the 2016 U.S. election to help him win, seeming to accept Putin’s insistence that Moscow’s hands were clean.

This month he again caused an uproar when he said he once warned a NATO ally that he “would encourage” Russia “to do whatever the hell they want” to countries in the alliance that don’t spend enough on defense.

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