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Friday, April 12, 2024

Donald J. Trump Breaks Silence on Navalny’s Death, Draws Criticism from Rival Nikki Haley

Following the reported death of Russian opposition leader Aleksei A. Navalny, former President Donald J. Trump broke his silence on social media, drawing attention for his remarks that sidestepped direct condemnation of President Vladimir V. Putin and instead focused on his own legal battles.

In a social media post on Monday, Trump barely mentioned Navalny and omitted any condemnation of Putin, choosing instead to frame his own legal challenges as political persecution. This narrative echoed sentiments he expressed a day earlier, where he shared screenshots of an opinion essay comparing his relationship with President Biden to the one between Navalny and Putin.

However, Trump’s commentary on Navalny’s death conspicuously omitted any mention of Putin or Russian government involvement, despite widespread condemnation and speculation. Instead, Trump highlighted issues such as open borders, rigged elections, and unfair courtroom decisions, characterizing the U.S. as a “nation in decline.”

Trump’s remarks come in the midst of his own legal woes, including being ordered to pay approximately $450 million in a civil fraud case. He has repeatedly attempted to shift blame to Biden for his legal troubles, despite the president having no jurisdiction over the cases.

Nikki Haley, Trump’s rival in the Republican presidential primary and former ambassador to the United Nations, swiftly criticized his response. Taking to the social media platform X, Haley condemned Trump’s failure to condemn Putin and laud Navalny’s courage. She accused Trump of denouncing America and drawing parallels with Russia, adopting what she called a page from liberals’ playbook.

Haley, the former governor of South Carolina, has capitalized on Navalny’s death to critique Trump’s past praise of Putin. She labeled Navalny a “hero,” echoed assertions of Putin’s involvement in his death, and demanded that Trump “answer to that.”

Trump has a well-documented history of praising Putin, even as tensions escalated, such as Russia’s preparations to invade Ukraine. He has also favored Russia over traditional U.S. allies, a point Haley has emphasized. Just before Navalny’s death, Trump expressed willingness to “encourage” Russia to attack NATO allies that failed to meet financial obligations to the security alliance.

Navalny, a prominent critic of Putin, was confirmed dead by his political allies after Russian officials announced his death in a prison within the Arctic Circle. President Biden, responding to the news, asserted that while U.S. officials lacked specifics about Navalny’s death, he had “no doubt” that it was a consequence of Putin’s actions.

Until Monday, Trump had refrained from explicit commentary on Navalny’s death, opting instead for posts that portrayed the world as more perilous under Biden’s leadership.

Jonathan James
Jonathan James
I serve as a Senior Executive Journalist of The National Era
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