Former US President Donald Trump suggested on Monday that the US threaten Russian President Vladimir Putin with nuclear submarine patrols.

"You should say, 'If you mention that word [nuclear] one more time, we're gonna send [nuclear submarines and planes] over and we'll be coasting back and forth, up and down your coast," Trump told Fox Business.

"You can't let this tragedy continue. You can't let these, these thousands of people die," he added.

Trump said he "listened to [Putin] constantly using the n-word," referring to the world "nuclear," during his dealings with the Russian President but that he hoped he never had to use nuclear weapons because "it would be the tragedy of all tragedies."

Trump also noted his own investment in nuclear submarines, saying, “I hated to do it, but I rebuilt our nuclear capability like nobody has ever thought even possible.”

Shortly after the Russian invasion of Ukraine got underway, Trump described Putin's actions in Ukraine as "genius" and "pretty savvy."

After coming under fire for the remarks, Trump clarified his comments at CPAC 2022 and said, "The Russian attack on Ukraine is appalling. We are praying for the proud people of Ukraine. God bless them all."

Trump did say he thinks that Putin is “smart” but also that American and NATO leaders are dumb. He opined that President Joe Biden’s weakness and the failures in the Afghanistan withdrawal are what prompted Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine.

Last week, Trump toldThe Washington Examiner in an interview that he is “surprised” that Putin ordered the invasion of Ukraine and further cracked down on freedom inside Russia.

“I’m surprised — I’m surprised. I thought he was negotiating when he sent his troops to the border. I thought he was negotiating,” Trump said, adding, “I thought it was a tough way to negotiate but a smart way to negotiate.”

“I figured he was going to make a good deal like everybody else does with the United States and the other people they tend to deal with — you know, like every trade deal. We’ve never made a good trade deal until I came along,” Trump added. “And then he went in — and I think he’s changed. I think he’s changed. It’s a very sad thing for the world. He’s very much changed.”

Trump categorically rejected suggestions that he has a soft spot for Putin and seemed almost offended by the accusation.

“I’ve been very, very tough on Putin. I get a bad rap on that,” Trump said, reiterating his claim that Russia never would have invaded Ukraine had he been president for fear of how he would respond. “At the same time, I got along with him very well. But I got along with most [world leaders] very well.”

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