Trump: 'The People of Crimea Would Rather Be With Russia' (Video)
Donald Trump also stated he would consider recognizing Crimea's reunification with Russia, and rejected the assertion Putin wanted to invade Ukraine
In an interview that is sure to infuriate Russophobic neocons backing Hillary Clinton, GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump once again broke from the establishment party line on Russia, doubling down on his statements the US needed a better relationship with the country.
After stringently denying any personal links to Vladimir Putin in the interview with ABC's George Stephanopoulos, Trump was asked about his campaign removing a plank from the Republican party platform which called for arming the Ukrainian regime. Trump said he wasn't involved, but denied Putin wanted to invade Ukraine anyway:
Trump: He's not going into Ukraine - just so you understand - he's not going to go into Ukraine. You can mark it down...you can take it any way you want.
Stephanopoulos: Well he's aready there.
Trump: Well he's there in a certain way, but I'm not there. You have Obama there. And frankly, that whole part of the world is a mess under Obama.
Stephanopoulos then challenged Trump on Crimea, asking if he would recognize Russia's "annexation" of the peninsula. Mr. Trump replied that he might:
Stephanopoulos: But you said you might recognize [Crimea].
Trump: I'm going to take a look at it. But you know, the people of Crimea - from what I've heard - would rather be with Russia, than where they were. And you have to look at that also. [...] As far as the Ukraine is concerned, it's a mess, and that's under Obama's administration with his strong ties to NATO.
Trump then reiterated his stance that improving relations with Russia is paramount:
Trump: And we'll do better [than Obama on Ukraine], and yet we'll have a better relationship with Russia. Maybe. But having a good relationship with Russia is a good thing, not a bad thing.
So it appears that Donald Trump is standing firm on his commitment to restoring mutually beneficial relations with Russia, China, and other countries. It also appears the barrage of smear directed at Trump and Putin by US mainstream media is seemingly having little effect on his popularity.
Those in the political establishment with vested interests in continued confrontation and "regime change" must be tearing their hair out.