Biden slams Trump over Navalny: ‘Why does Trump always blame America?’

By Thomson Reuters Feb 20, 2024 | 5:56 PM

By Doina Chiacu

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden on Tuesday thrashed Republican rival Donald Trump’s response to the death of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, asking, “Why does Trump always blame America?”

After Navalny’s death was reported on Friday, Biden directly blamed Russian leader Vladimir Putin, as did Trump’s main rival for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, Nikki Haley.

Trump did not mention Navalny until a Monday post on his Truth Social platform that did not cast blame or express remorse, but alluded to his own legal problems as persecution and called the United States a nation in decline.

“The former president, Trump, and other Republicans, refuse to hold Putin accountable for his death,” Biden said. “Instead, Trump said Navalny’s death made him realize how bad America was.

“He said and I quote, ‘We are a nation in decline, a failing nation.’ Why does Trump always blame America? Putin is responsible for Navalny’s death. Why can’t Trump just say that?”

Trump, the Republican frontrunner, is likely to face Democrat Biden in a rematch in November’s presidential election.

During his 2017-2021 tenure in the White House, Trump drew criticism for his praise of Putin. Last week, he suggested the United States might not protect NATO allies who do not spend enough on defense from a potential Russian invasion.

Biden on Tuesday called the NATO comments dangerous. “It does nothing but encourage bad behavior,” Biden said.

Biden folded the criticism into a video posted in Twitter in which he urged Republicans who control the House of Representatives to pass emergency security assistance for Ukraine in its war against Russia.

“We have to stand up to Putin,” Biden said.

(Reporting by Doina Chiacu; Editing by Christopher Cushing)