Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie hit former President Donald Trump after Russian President Vladimir Putin criticized the criminal cases against the former American president.
“As for the prosecution of Trump, for us what is happening in today’s conditions, in my opinion, is good because it shows the rottenness of the American political system, which cannot pretend to teach others democracy,” Putin said Tuesday at an Eastern Economic Forum in Russia’s Vladivostok.
“Everything that is happening with Trump is the persecution of a political rival for political reasons. That’s what it is. And this is being done in front of the public of the United States and the whole world,” he said.
Christie quickly hit out at the comments from the Russian leader, who he called a “Brutal, mass-murdering, KGB hitman.”
“Trump thinks Putin is a ‘genius’ – he clearly needs new role models,” Christie said in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter. “Get it straight. Trump is under indictment because of his conduct. He played with fire and is getting burned. And now his best buddy is coming to his defense.”
“If you are on the same side as Putin, you might want to rethink your position,” Christie added.
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Trump previously praised Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as a “genius” negotiating strategy. Trump, the current Republican frontrunner in the 2024 GOP primary, has repeatedly suggested that the U.S. might be providing Ukraine with too much support.
Trump has also frequently claimed that he would end the war in 24 hours if reelected president, in addition to arguing that Putin would have not invaded Ukraine if he won the 2020 presidential election.
The former U.S. president has been criminally charged four times this year. He faces state-level cases in New York and Georgia. In New York, he’s accused of a hush money scheme, and in Georgia, he’s accused of election interference in the 2020 presidential race.
Those are separate from the two federal cases he faces. One accuses him of mishandling classified documents after his term as president, and the other is a broader look at his efforts during the 2020 presidential election in states across the country − not just Georgia.
Trump has denied wrongdoing in all of the cases. USA TODAY has reached out to Trump’s campaign for comment.
Contributing: Miles J. Herszenhorn, USA TODAY; Associated Press