Trump’s former security expert denounces Putin at CPAC days after ex-president called him ‘genius’

‘Make no mistake — Putin is a killer. He wants to rebuild the Russian Empire. He's not a person to be admired. No matter how charming or how clever he is’

Andrew Feinberg
Orlando, Florida
Saturday 26 February 2022 18:50 GMT
Missile explosion near Kyiv airport causes damage to residential building

Former Trump national security adviser Robert O’Brien on Saturday denounced Russian president Vladimir Putin as a “killer” days after his former boss said the unprovoked attack he ordered on Ukraine was “savvy” and called the dictator a “genius”.

Speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference, Mr O’Brien said the crisis brought on by Russia’s attack is “the likes of which we haven't seen at least those of us born after World War Two haven't seen”.

The former attorney and diplomat, who served as Mr Trump’s top national security aide from 2019 to 2021, called Ukraine a “beautiful country” filled with “good, churchgoing folks” who “want to live like their European neighbours” and not in Mr Putin’s “dystopian Russia”.

Continuing, he said Ukraine would not be enough for Mr Putin, citing the Russian leader’s threats to the Baltic states and against Finland and Sweden should either join Nato.

Breaking with Donald Trump’s praise of Mr Putin, he criticised the Russian leader even more harshly.

Robert O’Brien (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

“Make no mistake, Putin is a killer. He wants to rebuild the Russian Empire. He's not a person to be admired, no matter how charming or how clever he is,” Mr O’Brien said.

While he repeated a number of frequent GOP talking points meant to suggest Joe Biden has embolden Mr Putin with unspecified “weakness,” he said US is “fundamentally strong” and urged Mr Biden to “impose costs on Putin for his war” by “cutting [Russia] off financially” and imposing sanctions on Russia’s central bank.

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