- Olivier Douliery / Pool via CNP /MediaPunch/IPX
President Donald Trump on Wednesday accused his predecessor Barack Obama of being “too soft” on Russia. Trump, who was criticized for his praise of Russian President Vladimir Putin during the presidential campaign, had used Twitter earlier in the morning to dismiss reports of his campaign’s ties to the country as “non-sense.”
“Crimea was TAKEN by Russia during the Obama Administration,” Trump tweeted. “Was Obama too soft on Russia?”
The White House press secretary, Sean Spicer, spent some of his briefing Tuesday defending Trump as being strong against Russia, specifically regarding the Russian annexation of Crimea.
“President Trump has made it very clear that he expects the Russian government to de-escalate violence in the Ukraine and return Crimea,” Spicer said.
Spicer also said the Obama administration had allowed Crimea “to be seized by Russia.”
Russia seemed to dismiss the White House’s stance on Wednesday, according to CNN, as Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said: “We’re not returning our territory. Crimea is part of the Russian Federation.”
In a conversation with The New York Times in March, a conversation in which then-candidate Trump said the US “bears far too much of the cost of NATO,” Trump said “the United States was going out and … being fairly tough on the Ukraine.”
“Why is it always the United States that gets right in the middle of things, with something that – you know, it affects us, but not nearly as much as it affects other countries,” Trump said. “We’re fighting for the Ukraine, but nobody else is fighting for the Ukraine other than the Ukraine itself, of course, and I said, it doesn’t seem fair and it doesn’t seem logical.”