RUSSIA/UKRAINE/VLADIMIR PUTIN: “As Russia prepared to strike Ukraine and the United States rushed to defend neighboring allies in Europe, former President Donald J. Trump had nothing but admiration for President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia.

He is ‘pretty smart,’ Mr. Trump said on Wednesday [February 23, 2022] at a Florida fund-raiser, assessing the impending invasion like a real estate deal. ‘He’s taken over a country for $2 worth of sanctions,’ he said, ‘taking over a country — really a vast, vast location, a great piece of land with a lot of people — and just walking right in.’ […]

Cold War-era Republicans, historians said, would have repudiated comments like Mr. Trump’s as un-American.”

-David D. Kirkpatrick, Maggie Astor, and Catie Edmondson, “Trump Praises Putin, Leaving Republicans in a Bind,” nytimes.com, February 25, 2022