February 23, 2024


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Trump said he could end Ukraine war nearly a year ago but still hasn’t laid out specifics

Former President Trump said nearly a year ago while on the campaign trail he would settle the ongoing war in Ukraine in a matter of 24 hours, but he has not yet detailed a plan to do so. 

‘If I’m president, I will have that war settled in one day, 24 hours,’ Trump said in May on CNN. 

Trump has doubled down on the comment since, including in July to Fox News. Fox News Digital reached out to the Trump campaign repeatedly this week for comment and details on what such a plan would look like but did not receive a response. 

In July, Fox News’ Maria Bartiromo pressed Trump for details on how he would end the war in 24 hours if re-elected. The president said he would lean on his personal relationships with both Zelenskyy and Putin but did not divulge specifics beyond speaking with the two leaders. 

‘I know Zelenskyy very well, and I know Putin very well, even better. And I had a good relationship, very good with both of them. I would tell Zelenskyy, ‘No more. You got to make a deal.’ I would tell Putin, ‘If you don’t make a deal, we’re going to give him a lot. We’re going to [give Ukraine] more than they ever got if we have to.’ I will have the deal done in one day. One day,’ Trump responded.

Questions about the former president’s plans on foreign policy have mounted in recent weeks as Trump dominates recent GOP primaries and caucuses. An opinion piece in The Wall Street Journal Wednesday argued, ‘Trump Owes Americans Some Answers on Foreign Policy.’

‘For starters, what did Mr. Trump mean when he said he could end the war between Russia and Ukraine in 24 hours? Does he in fact mean Mr. Putin should be allowed to annex eastern Ukraine? Would he withdraw the U.S. from the roughly 50-nation Ukraine Defense Contact Group?’ WSJ columnist Daniel Henninger wrote in the piece. 

Zelenskyy was asked about Trump’s comments in an exclusive interview with FOX News chief political anchor and executive editor of ‘Special Report’ Bret Baier on Thursday. 

‘He can’t solve this problem, this tragedy with me,’ Zelenskyy said. He offered to host the former President on the frontlines where he ‘will explain everything, and he will explain what his thoughts, maybe he has some ideas. I don’t know.’ 

When asked if the former president could end the war in Ukraine in a matter of 24 hours or timely fashion if re-elected, Heather Nauert, a former State Department spokesperson in the Trump administration, pointed to Trump’s influence on the world stage.

‘President Trump wields great influence,’ Nauert said. ‘He could tell Putin to pound sand and immediately withdraw his forces. This would send a direct message to all of our adversaries — including Russia, China and North Korea. As someone who respects America’s territorial integrity, President Trump should understand Ukraine’s desire and need to protect its own borders.’

Nauert argued there are a handful of options that would help end the war in Ukraine, including leveling greater sanctions on Russia and providing ‘Ukraine with weapons and training that it has been asking for,’ as opposed to President Biden’s ‘piecemeal approach’ that she said has ‘provided equipment too little, too late, and innocent people are dying as a result.’

‘It’s in the interest of our national security to help Ukraine stop Putin from seizing their country and spreading war throughout Europe. America and its allies can use economic, military and financial tools to rein in Russia,’ Nauert said. ‘Russia is trying to destroy Ukraine’s military, its will and its economy. Russia will not stop at Ukraine’s borders.

The former State Department spokesperson singled out leveraging energy as a top option, arguing American energy independence could ‘wean Europe’ off its oil dependence on Russia. 

‘If America becomes energy independent once again, we could help provide our European allies with reliable American oil and gas. Russia, historically, has used energy as a weapon of war throughout Europe by turning off the spigot when they want to cause pain. By supplying our allies and friends with American energy, including liquefied natural gas (LNG), we could help wean Europe from Russia. Additional interventions (including increasing nuclear energy) would also help,’ she said. 

Fox News Digital also spoke to another former Trump administration official who, when asked if Trump solving the Ukraine war in 24 hours is realistic, said ‘anything’s possible’ and also pointed to energy as a potential top tool to end the war. 

‘President Trump, with his history in deal-making, we’d envision a situation where he would be able to convene some discussion or negotiation in which he would have leverage over both parties,’ the former Trump administration official told Fox News Digital on background. 

‘There could be much greater economic leverage against the Russians if you had a president who wasn’t committed to keeping Russian energy on the market because they feared price spikes here at home, and we’re not willing to do what would be necessary to replace that product with American products,’ the former official said. 

To leverage energy over Russia, the U.S. would need to work in conjunction with European nations that were confident the U.S. could meet their energy needs. A conservative president who is not tethered to liberal climate policies at home opens the door to that option, the former Trump official said. 

Peter Doran, an adjunct senior fellow for nonpartisan think tank the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, argued in comments to Fox Digital that there is a ‘major gap between’ the Biden administration’s rhetoric on Russia and its actual policies, which has ultimately led to Russia’s economy growing despite claims of ‘severe sanctions’ put in place by the 46th president. 

‘Right now, there is a major gap between the Biden administration’s rhetoric on sanctions — what it’s saying it is doing to Russia and what its actual policies are. Russia’s economy grew by 2.2% last year, and it’s expected to grow by 2.6% this year under the quote, unquote swift and severe sanctions of the Biden administration,’ he said. ‘The reason is because we’re allowing the Russians to sell too much oil and make too much money to fund their war.

‘The best option for Trump would be to use the Iran sanctions model, apply it to Russia and deny Russia the money it needs to sustain this war. And that’s ultimately how the war could end.’ 

The former president did speak with Fox News’ Laura Ingraham this week and doubled down on previous comments that the war in Ukraine ‘would have never happened’ if he were in the White House. But he did not detail how he would go about ending the war if re-elected. He did focus on how European nations need to ‘pay up,’ arguing the U.S. has spent $150 billion more to bolster Ukraine than what has been offered by Europe. 

‘We’ve got to get them to pay up because there’s a $150 billion difference. I feel very bad. Remember this: You’re really up against a war machine in Russia,’ he told Ingraham. ‘ Russia, what’d they do? They defeated Hitler. They defeated Napoleon. They’re a war machine.’ 

The Biden administration and Congress have directed at least $75 billion to Ukraine, and another $60 billion package is working its way through Congress. 

The war in Ukraine will have raged for two years by Saturday, and a recent Fox News survey found voters are largely divided on the nation’s role in the war. Thirty-one percent of registered voters believe the U.S. should be doing more to help in the war with Russia and 30% say the U.S. should be doing less. Thirty-five percent believe the current level of support is adequate, according to the Fox poll published in December. 

Doran argued that foreign policy issues typically take a backseat for voters during elections but noted the 2024 election is unique with the world ‘in a state of dangerous chaos.’

‘As with all elections, it’s the domestic economy and domestic politics which get voters out into the polls. Foreign policy is always in the back of their mind, not in the front. What’s unique about this election cycle is that the world is in a state of dangerous chaos, and voters remember that it was not like this when Trump was in office. And that’s going to be a powerful motivator in Trump’s favor in 2024,’ he said. 

Earlier this month, Zelenskyy re-upped his invitation to Trump to visit Ukraine after previously inviting him in November, when he noted Trump’s comment that he could end the war ‘in 24 hours.’ 

‘Former President Trump said that about 24 hours, that he can manage it and finish the war,’ Zelenskyy said during an interview last year. ‘For me, what can I say? So he’s very welcome as well.’

Trump has so far not taken Zelenskyy up on the offers. 

Nauert added that before Americans head to the polls later this year, candidates should release ‘their strategy for addressing the interconnected threats posed by Russia, China, Iran and North Korea.’

‘The entire world will be watching the outcome of our presidential election. When America is in chaos, adversaries take advantage of the vacuum, and that’s never good for America’s national security,’ she said. 

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