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Chris Christie Rips Trump For Calling Putin's Ukraine Invasion 'Very Savvy' With Scathing Takedown

Chris Christie Rips Trump For Calling Putin's Ukraine Invasion 'Very Savvy' With Scathing Takedown
Tom Pennington/Getty Images; Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

Former Trump ally and former New Jersey GOP Governor Chris Christie criticized former Republican President Donald Trump for praising Russian President Vladimir Putin even as the international community responded with outrage and issued sanctions in response to Putin's invasion of Ukraine.

Christie wrote an angry tweet decrying Trump for calling Putin's move to invade Ukraine "genius" and "savvy" as the world watches Putin "unite the rest of the world against Russia in nearly an instant."

Doesn't sound like a very savvy move to anyone but Trump and his acolytes.

Christie noted Putin can either choose to raze Ukraine and murder President Volodymyr Zelenskyy or retreat, which Christie acknowledged would be "humiliating."

Neither choice is a net positive, Christie noted, nor are they the options one would expect to see made by an actually "genius" leader.

Trump had earlier called Putin "pretty smart" for the way he orchestrated the predawn invasion and approached criticisms from world leaders in the preceding weeks.

Speaking at a political fundraiser at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida Wednesday evening, Trump said:

“I mean, he’s taking over a country for $2 worth of sanctions."
"I’d say that’s pretty smart."
"He’s taking over a country—literally a vast, vast location, a great piece of land with a lot of people, and just walking right in."

Trump's remarks were the second time in a week he heaped praise on Putin for his intellect.

Trump had been criticized earlier for praising Putin's action, referring to him as a “genius” for moving troops to Ukraine’s eastern border.

Trump said Putin is “very savvy” and made a “genius” move when he signed a decree recognizing Luhansk and Donetsk, parts of Eastern Ukraine, as independent entities and claimed he was moving troops to regions held by Russian separatists in a bid to ensure “peace.”

Given Christie continued to publicly support Trump for years despite the misgivings he had about Trump's performance while in office, his claims have garnered a largely negative reaction.

Christie is only the latest individual to criticize Trump for his remarks.

Trump's statements were earlier criticized by Lieutenant General H.R. McMaster, his former national security adviser.

Speaking to reporters earlier this week, McMaster said Putin is "certainly not someone to be praised" and stressed that "what we ought to be encouraged by is the reaction across the free world."

McMaster has himself been highly critical of Trump for years and was ousted from the Trump administration after telling a forum in Germany that it is "incontrovertible" that Russians had meddled in the 2016 presidential election, a fact that Trump has openly rejected amid criticism of his ties to the Russian government.

Trump's former Chief of Staff John Kelly drew mockery for expressing his own "disbelief" that Trump would praise Putin at such a time.