Former President Donald Trump praised the late Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny during a Tuesday Fox News town hall after being criticized for his initial response to his death by his GOP rival and others.

The Russian government announced Friday that Navalny died in prison, prompting international condemnation. Trump remained silent about the death of the Russian dissident until a Monday post on Truth Social that was widely criticized for omitting sympathy for the opposition leader, which Fox News host Laura Ingraham pressed him on.

“Your opponents have used that to say, again, ‘pro-Putin, don’t care about human rights or freedom, the freedom movement,’” Ingraham said about Trump’s post. “And so what does that mean when you said it made you more aware of your circumstances here?”

“Navalny is a very sad situation,” Trump said. “And he is very brave … he was a very brave guy because he went back. He could have stayed away, and frankly probably would have been a better off staying away and talking from outside the country as opposed to having to go back in. People thought it could happen and did happen and it’s a horrible thing. But it’s happening in our country, too.”


Trump stood by the comparison, pointing to his indictments, singling out Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis.

“The sudden death of Alexei Navalny has made me more and more aware of what is happening in our Country,” Trump posted Monday. “It is a slow, steady progression, with CROOKED, Radical Left Politicians, Prosecutors, and Judges leading us down a path to destruction.”

Trump’s comments drew fire from former Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley and others.

“Donald Trump could have condemned Vladimir Putin for being a murderous thug. Trump could have praised Navalny’s courage,” Haley posted on X, formerly known as Twitter. “Instead, he stole a page from liberals’ playbook, denouncing America and comparing our country to Russia.”

Trump predicted that even if he had not run, he would still be facing attacks on the legal front.

“I won an election that was not supposed to be winnable,” he said, referring to his upset victory over former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election.

Harold Hutchison on February 20, 2024
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