Former President Donald Trump, who is seeking the Republican Party’s presidential nomination in 2024, on Wednesday night appeared in a 90-minute town hall show on CNN.
Trump touched on numerous subjects, including his rejection of the jury’s verdict, his claim that the 2020 election had been stolen, his phone call to Georgia’s Secretary of State, the need for voter ID, the intelligence community’s involvement in the 2020 election, who was to blame for the January 6 insurrection, who is responsible for the high gas prices and what needs to be done to reach energy independence, and what must be done to end the war in Ukraine.
His appearance came one day after a New York jury had found him guilty of sexually abusing writer E Jean Carroll in a Manhattan department store almost 30 years ago and ordered him to pay the plaintiff $5 million.
With your permission, I’d like to focus on that last item, because it involves ideas that haven’t been covered ad nauseam by the media.
Trump said he would meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Ukrainian counterpart, Vladimir Zelensky, to end the conflict in Ukraine.
“I don’t think in terms of winning and losing,” the former president told CNN. “I think in terms of getting it settled so we stop killing all these people.”
Trump promised that if he is elected president, he would resolve the conflict within 24 hours. “Russians and Ukrainians, I want them to stop dying,” he reiterated. “And I’ll have that done in 24 hours.”
Trump added that even though the Russian president is very smart, “Putin made a mistake” by trying to invade Ukraine.
Trump also insisted this was not the time to label Putin a war criminal. “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,” Trump said, adding it “should be discussed later.”
Regarding US aid to Ukraine, Trump claimed that the US had provided Ukraine with $171 billion “so far” in its war against Russia, while the European Union has given Ukraine $20 billion in aid cumulatively. He also claimed that the US is “giving away so much,” because “we don’t have ammunition for ourselves right now.”
According to CNN’s fact checkers, both claims were false. The US has given Ukraine $36.9 billion in military aid since the beginning of the war in February 2022. As to his other claim, although some US and European weapon stockpiles have been depleted, Trump’s suggestion that the US is out of ammunition is false.
According to CNN, the US military and defense industry are planning to increase production of critical ammunition being sent to Ukraine to replenish US stocks. The US Army is planning a 500% increase in 155mm artillery shells, a 33% increase in Guided Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (GMLRS) surface-to-surface medium-range missiles a year, doubling production of Javelin anti-tank missiles, and increasing production of Stinger anti-aircraft missiles to a minimum of 60 a month.